Many years ago, when Teresita Reyes or "Mama Sita" as she is better known, started to develop the range of sauces, spices and condiments that would make her a household name in the Philippines, she did so with one aim in mind: to ensure that wherever they happened to be in the world, her fellow Filipinos would be able to recreate the taste and flavours of home.
As her niece Nancy Reyes Lumen explains in the introduction to the Middle East edition of her cookbook Discover Mama Sita's Flavours of the Philippine Islands, now available to buy from New West Zone Supermarkets for Dh30, "she saw the need to stay connected to the Filipino menu at any time, from any place".
At an event showcasing the food featured in the cookbook, Nhonie Flores, the senior sous chef at Gourmet Lafayette in Dubai Mall, explained that although he left the Philippines 11 years ago, Mama Sita products provide the flavour of home and are imperative to his cooking. "Some Filipino dishes such as the beef caldereta, a Spanish-influenced stew which is often served at weddings or parties, involve a lot of preparation – roasting the nuts and grinding the spices. Using the spicy sauce mix makes it a lot easier and produces a familiar flavour."
Flores added that one of the other dishes he liked to serve is a Mama Sita-inspired appetiser platter, featuring spring rolls, barbecued chicken and vegetable sticks with creamy adobo dip, the recipe for which is given here.
Mama Sita products are available from a number of supermarkets in the UAE and Mama Sita Oyster Sauce has recently been added to the range of products available here.
Adobo dip with crunchy vegetables
For the adobo dip:
1 tbsp Mama Sita's Adobo Mix
1 tsp sugar
1 cup sour cream
Whisk all the ingredients for the dip together until well blended. Serve with celery, cucumber, carrot and jicama stem sticks.
Lumpiang prito – fried spring rolls
6 shrimps, shelled and cut into pieces
1 singkamas (jicama), peeled and cut into thin strips
1 pouch Mama Sita Pang Gisa mix
1 kamote (sweet potato), peeled and cut into strips
1 carrot, peeled and cut into strips
5 green beans, sliced thinly
1 small cabbage, sliced
1 tbsp kinchay, chopped (Chinese celery)
spring roll wrappers
oil for frying
In a wok, combine the water, shrimp heads, singkamas and Mama Sita Pang Gisa mix. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for five minutes. Remove the shrimp heads.
Increase the heat, add the rest of the vegetables and cover. Cook for another five to seven minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Use the mixture to fill the spring roll wrappers. Wrap tightly and fry in hot oil until crisp and golden brown.
1kg chicken meat, cut into 2 x 1 x -inch strips
1 bottle Mama Sita Barbecue Marinade
20 bamboo skewers (each 8 inches long)
cooking oil, for basting
In a bowl, marinate the chicken meat in Mama Sita Barbecue Marinade for three hours.
Thread four pieces of chicken (about 50g) on to each bamboo skewer.
Baste with the remaining barbecue marinade mixed with oil, if desired.
Grill for four to five minutes on each side or until cooked.
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