Filipino Recipes

Filipino Recipes: Cassava Cake

This cassava cake recipe from Yasmin Newman’s beautiful Filipino cookbook 7000 Islands many sound exotic but is easy to bake and tastes incredible, flavoured with coconut milk and finished with a coconut caramel topping.

At work, my mother was affectionately known as the ‘Cassava Queen’. She made cassava cake countless times over the years for colleagues who repeatedly requested the exotic dessert for office gatherings. Also known as cassava bibingka, this Filipino classic is characterised by a springy, elastic texture. It is also very easy to make. Stock up on pre-grated frozen cassava from Asian grocery stores, then thaw when you’re ready to begin.

Serves: 12


900g grated cassava
3 eggs
440g caster sugar
190 ml evaporated milk
310 ml coconut milk
60 g unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons plain flour
400 g condensed milk
80 ml coconut milk
2 egg yolks


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Lightly grease a 22 cm ovenproof dish about 7 cm deep.

2. To make the cassava cake, place all of the ingredients in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 1 hour, or until firm in the centre.

3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

4. Meanwhile, to make the coconut caramel topping, place the flour and half of the condensed milk in a saucepan and stir to combine. Add the coconut milk and the remaining condensed milk, and cook over low heat for 10–15 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened to a jam-like consistency. Remove from the heat. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a bowl, then stir into the condensed milk mixture until well combined.

5.Pour the topping over the cake and spread evenly. Use a kitchen blowtorch to cook the topping until slightly caramelised. Alternatively, cook under a hot preheated grill for 3–5 minutes; be careful as it will caramelise quickly. Set aside at room temperature until the topping is set and the cake is completely cool, then turn out the cake to serve.

What is it?

Cassava (also kamoteng kahoy) is the edible tuberous root from the cassava plant. The hardy, carbohydrate-rich crop is a major food staple across the developing world; in the Philippines, it is predominantly eaten as a sweet. Boiled cassava topped with grated coconut and sugar is the most common form; grated for cassava bibingka is the most loved. The starch extracted from cassava, known as tapioca, is used as a flour, or balls (pearls) found in sweet merienda items, such as ginataan.

What’s your favourite Filipino recipe?

Authentic Filipino Recipes: Beef Kaldereta

This slow-cooked beef stew from the 7000 Islands cookbook might just replace your go-to casserole recipe as your new favourite beef dish. With Spanish influences of tomatoes and olives combined with Asian flavours of fish sauce and rice vinegar, the beef is cooked slowly so it’s fork tender, making it a great dish to serve family-style or for a party.

Kaldereta is a mainstay on my mother’s party menu. As with all stews, it improves with time: slow cooking tenderises the tough meat and develops the rich sauce. Its flavours are further enhanced if served the next day. Look for liver spread in Asian grocery stores or liverwurst at supermarkets.

Serves: 3–4


60 ml vegetable oil
600 g beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 4 cm pieces
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 onions, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated puree)
400 g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons cane or rice vinegar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons fish sauce
625 ml beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 red capsicum, seeded and cut into 2.5 cm strips
1 green capsicum, seeded and cut into 2.5 cm strips
90 g green olives
2 long green chillies, whole or thinly sliced
50 g liver spread or liverwurst, chopped
steamed rice, to serve


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium–high heat. Add half of the beef and cook for 4 minutes, turning until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and repeat with another 1 tablespoon of oil and the remaining beef.

2. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in the cleaned pan over medium heat and cook the garlic and onion for 5 minutes, stirring until soft. Add the tomato paste, stir for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, vinegar, fish sauce, stock and bay leaf and season with freshly cracked black pepper. Return the beef to the pan and stir to combine (it should be just submerged in liquid; add a little extra stock or water if necessary). Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the capsicum and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until they have softened and the beef is tender and breaks apart easily with a fork. Add the olives and chillies and cook for 2 minutes, or until warmed through. Add the liver spread and stir until well combined. Season with salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste, and serve with steamed rice.

Where does it come from? 

With its Iberian flavours of tomato, onion and olive, kaldereta (also caldereta) is easily identified to have Spanish roots. Its name is also derived from the Spanish ‘caldero’, a type of cooking pot. Over time, Filipinos put their stamp on the dish by adding liver to thicken and enrich the sauce; now, tinned liver spread or grated edam cheese (queso de bola) are commonly substituted.

Read our Q&A with 7000 Island cookbook author Yasmin Newman.

Filipino Recipes: Lamb Adobo

This lamb adobo recipe comes from Yasmin Newman’s beautiful new cookbook 7000 Islands – A Food Portrait of the Philippines.

Adobo is both the national dish and the country’s most popular. In my humble opinion, its simplicity, versatility and distinctive use of vinegar deserve all the attention. I would happily eat it every day and proudly serve it when entertaining.

This recipe was kindly shared by the renowned LJC Restaurant group where goat, a traditional Filipino meat, is used for its signature adobo. For accessibility, this version slow braises lamb shoulder. Lamb is a similarly strong-flavoured meat widely available elsewhere and works beautifully in this dish.

Serves: 4–6


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 garlic bulb, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1.4 kg lamb shoulder, bone in, trimmed and cut through the bone into 6 pieces

60 ml soy sauce

190 ml cane or rice vinegar

250 ml beef stock

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt flakes

2 teaspoons freshly cracked

black pepper

2 long dried red chillies

2 short dried red chillies

Crisp-fried garlic (optional) and steamed rice, to serve


1. Heat the vegetable oil in a casserole dish or large, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring until fragrant. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until softened. Increase the heat to high, add the lamb and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until just browned.

2. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, stock, bay leaves, salt and pepper to the dish and stir gently to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 1 1⁄2–2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is very tender (add more stock or water if necessary).

3. Using tongs, remove the lamb and transfer to a plate. Return the liquid in the dish to medium–high heat, add the dried chillies and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and reduced.

4. Tear the lamb into large pieces, discarding the bones, then return the meat to the pan. Stir gently over low–medium heat until warmed through. Season with freshly cracked black pepper, transfer to a serving bowl, scatter with crisp-fried garlic, if using, and serve with steamed rice.

Read our Q&A with Filipino cooking expert Yasmin Newman here.

Introduction To Filipino Cooking With Yasmin Newman

Filipino cuisine might not be that well known in Australia, but a beautiful new cookbook by Filipino cooking expert Yasmin Newman is hoping to change that. 7000 Islands – A Food Portrait of the Philippines will appeal to both foodies and armchair travellers, and features over 100 authentic Filipino recipes including adobo, lumpia spring rolls, and leche flan. We chat with Yasmin about her favourite dishes, which ingredients she can’t live without for cooking Filipino dishes at home and why she thinks Filipino cuisine is going to be the next big food trend.

What is a classic dish that’s an easy introduction into Filipino cuisine?
Adobo all the way. This vinegar and soy braise is the Philippines’ national dish, so simple to make and adored by everyone who tries it. Its flavours are both quintessentially Filipino and accessible to a non-Filipino palate.

What are your tips for preparing adobo at home?
It’s all about the vinegar, so get your hands on native varieties (sugar cane, nipa palm and coconut) from Filipino food stores or use the best organic or unrefined rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar you can find.

Why do you think Filipino cuisine isn’t more popular in Australia?
There are a number of theories – a largely educated middle class migrant group in Australia; the peoples’ love of home-cooked Filipino food; and Filipinos’ adaptability to new cultures when migrating overseas, to name a few. Sensationalised media reports have affected the Philippines from a tourism point of view, which has also played a part. But things are definitely changing; there are now more and more Filipino food ambassadors and the country’s popularity as a tourist destination is growing exponentially. I think we’re going to be hearing, seeing and tasting a lot more of the Philippines from here on in!

What is your favourite Filipino snack?
Filipino love to snack – they even have a whole category of food called merienda dedicated to the cause! As a result, my list of favourite snacks is long, from sweets of turon (caramelised banana spring rolls) and halo halo (shaved ice dessert) to savoury chicken empanadas and lumpia singkamas (fresh jicama spring rolls).

Which 3 Filipino ingredients can’t you live without?
Kalamansi, green-skinned native Filipino citrus about the size of a 10-cent coin with an irresistible lemon-meets-lime-and-mandarin flavour, suka (native Filipino vinegar – nipa palm is my favourite) and pork – Filipinos have mastered pork in every shape and form, from lechon, whole-roasted suckling pig to crispy pata, deep-fried pork hock.

What are your favourite grocery stores for stocking up on Filipino ingredients in Australia?
Filipino cuisine has strong historical ties with Spain, China, Mexico and the US, meaning many ingredients are already widely available in Australia at supermarkets and greengrocers. Native Filipino ingredients are stocked at dedicated Filipino food stores or pan-Asian food shops. If you live outside of metropolitan areas, they may be a little harder to source, but you’d be surprised how many Filipino food stores exist – there are Filipino communities hidden just about everywhere! I head to Manila Sari Sari Store in Chatswood, Pasalubong in Mascot and V Plus in Erina. I have plans to sell selected Filipino products online in the future, so keep your eyes out!

Can you recommended any Filipino restaurants?
Sadly, there are currently few Filipino restaurants in Australia. In Sydney, where I live, try La Mesa in the CBD, Sizzling Filo in Lidcome or head to Blacktown where there are a number of authentic turo turos (casual eateries).

Make Yasmin’s Lamb Adobo recipe from 7000 Recipes here!

What’s your favourite Filipino recipe?