I've been spending a lot more time exploring my Filipino roots through food lately. One particular favourite meal of mine is when we would have a Filipino breakfast/brunch. We would do this on Sundays once in a while when I was growing up, as a way of bringing the family together on the weekend. As we got older and my sister and I moved out, this breakfast would often make an appearance when we all got together. Since I moved away, I kept up with this tradition as one of my go-to meals whenever I was missing my family.
Calamansi Drink: A Low-Carb Filipino Breakfast Drink to Replace OJ
If you're not having coffee, then you might feel like you want some other sort of refreshing drink to start out and whet your appetite. Calamansi is a fruit common in the Philippines that tastes like the love child of a lime and an orange, tart, but with a slightly sweet finish. They look like tiny oranges and grow on a bush. Filipinos often use it to introduce acid to fatty dishes, so it's not unusual to see a bottle of the juice on a table, or sliced ones on the side of a plate for finishing. You can also make a lovely low-carb beverage using the juice combined with a few stevia drops and some ice and water (regular or carbonated if preferred). It's tastes a little like an orangey lemonade, making it a nice replacement for high-sugar orange juice that is usually favoured in western breakfasts. Give my calamansi drink recipe a try.
Longanisa Sausages: Star of my Favourite Filipino Breakfast
Since going keto, I thought that all I really had to do to make the meal keto was to replace the rice with cauliflower rice. No, it's not the same texture, but it was close enough that it worked. I thought that the sausages were like most other sausages, mostly protein and lots of fat. It was only recently that I realized that there was as much sugar in them as there was fat, making them pretty heavy on the carbs. As such, I set about making my own homemade, sugar-free longanisa sausage recipe, consulting with Dhom, one of the Filipino chefs in my family. The version of I made leans on Ilocano traditions and is a little heavier on the garlic than other versions. Longanisa sausages usually have a hot and a sweet version for different palates. The only difference between these two is the inclusion of cayenne for the hot version. I made my sausages skinless for convenience, but you can easily skin them if you prefer. Give my Illocano-style sugar-free longanisa sausage recipe a try.
Garlic Fried Cauliflower Rice: The Sausages' Sassy Sidekick
If you're feeling lazy, you can just substitute this for regular steamed cauliflower rice, but it you really want to make it special, it's not too much more effort to make it garlic fried. The key is sautéing the garlic in your oil to make it into a garlic oil, reserving the crunch garlic bits to use as a stopping after you fry the rice. Add chopped green onions, a little salt and pepper on top of the garlic bits, and you get a flavourful side dish that perfectly complements the longanisa. Here's my version of garlic fried cauliflower rice for you to try.
Filipino Scramble with Tomato and Onions (Made with Eggs OR Tofu???)
What's breakfast without eggs, am I right? Filipinos are on board with this concept even if rice is more ubiquitous than toast. That being said, Sometimes I find that eggs are a little heavier than I want in a Filipino breakfast, especially if I'm loading up on the sausages. I often prefer to make my scramble using tofu rather than eggs. I know it sounds weird, but done well, most people won't notice a huge difference, especially since the eggs aren't the star of the show in Filipino breakfasts (in my opinion). If doing real eggs, it's simply a matter of frying up the onions and tomatoes a little, then scrambling the eggs into them. My Filipino tofu scramble adds a few extra spices to mashed tofu for flavour and colour, along with one key ingredient; black sea salt. The black sea salt has a notable sulphuric taste that makes the tofu taste a lot lot eggs. And when mashed and scrambled, the tofu takes on a texture that is pretty similar. So if you're out of eggs and have tofu on hand, or you just want to dial back on the fat or animal products, give my Filipino tofu scramble with tomatoes and onions recipe a try.
Have you ever had Filipino breakfast foods? If so, what are your favourite dishes, keto or carb-based? Please share in the comments to help inspire me. :)