(Improvised?) Chili Con Carne Recipe

There’s half a kilo of ground beef in the fridge.

There’s canned pink beans sitting on the counter.

I have no tomato paste and cumin.

I have nothing else in the pantry (unless I go out and purchase something).

The answer is simple — I will improvise a chili con carne recipe.

I have been cooking chili con carne for several years now and this has been a staple with rice, nachos and taco shells. Everyone who tastes it loves the damn thing that one of the Team Leaders in my past life asked for my recipe.

Today I deviate from my original recipe, the recipe that has put my cousin to shame (and I tell you, she does a decent chili con carne too) as I rummage our counter and our fridge for a good substitute for tomato paste and cumin.

Was the result spectacular?

Hell it was!

Chili con carne rice topping garnished with red chili, green chili and shards of cheddar cheese.


  1. Ground beef
  2. Pink beans (maybe you can substitute pork and beans? For this recipe I used this)
  3. Garlic (whole and chopped finely)
  4. Palm oil
  5. Salt
  6. Pepper
  7. Sugar
  8. Star anise
  9. Bay leaf
  10. Ground oregano
  11. Cayenne pepper
  12. Ketchup
  13. Curry powder
  14. Butter

Yeah, you are correct, substituting tomato paste and cumin are ketchup and curry powder oh thank goodness I still have them at home!

The ketchup I used was UFC banana ketchup. Yup, banana ketchup! If you are a reader from overseas, this kind of ketchup is popular here in the Philippines maybe because it is less pricey than tomato ketchup? Or maybe it’s also because we Filipinos have been accustomed to the tang of banana ketchup versus the sharpness of tomato ketchup.

As for the curry powder, I tweaked this one a bit. With the store bought curry powder as base I added paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, pepper and sugar. Tossed everything together and kept in a plastic container.


  1. Saute garlic in hot pan with palm oil.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook thoroughly.
  3. Add the spices: star anise, bay leaf, ground oregano, curry powder, cayenne pepper. Mix and let it simmer for some two to three minutes.
  4. Add the ketchup, mix. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. For extra kick, add more cayenne pepper.
  5. Now here is the fun part. I saw that gorgeous looking butter in the fridge and thought hmmm why not give my chili con carne a nice sheen to it? And so I did! Add two table spoons of butter.
  6. Serve hot with rice or nachos.



Pork and Sardines Lumpia Recipe

Last week, I tried, for the very first time since I started preparing packed lunch for myself, stocking the fridge with ready to fry lumpia (spring rolls).

Not the typical pork or chicken lumpia or a combination of both but (drum roll) pork and sardines lumpia.

Yup, you heard it right, pork and sardines. Maybe you have tried it already. Er, maybe not.

Anyway it sure was a fun time “experimenting” at the kitchen, concocting this recipe.


Lumpia wrapper (sorry no photo)

Ground pork — this serving is around P30 only.
One can of sardines. For this dish, I removed the “tinik” (what is tinik in English? OMG) and discarded most of the tomato sauce.
Grated carrots, kinchay and onion (please chop your onions finely than this. My apologies, I cooked something that night that required that kind of size from my onions).

Easy Peasy!

All you have to do is mix everything in one bowl. Hey, there is one finishing touch to my lumpia and that is raisins for that extra sweetness.

Even a 12 year old can prepare this dish. It is fun to make, it is delicious and nutritious too plus look at the colors! By the way, do not forget to season with salt and pepper. As for me, I added my favorite cayenne pepper to this mixture.

Fill the lumpia wrappers. I think this mixture was able to produce 25 to 28 rolls which I divided into two.

You can also try other veggies like jicama, celery, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers and maybe tofu as meat extender.

Verdict? Thumbs up!

Maybe, I should also add this to my Nomo Sesh roster? Haha

Spring rolls for sharing, anyone? Enjoy!



Jazz up your scrambled eggs

One of my go to dishes when I am running out of both budget (yes I have serious budget issues not because I am poor in handling finances but for other reasons) and time is a jazzed up scrambled egg.

It is huge in servings (I usually use two eggs) and you can be as creative as you want!

For this entry, I used:

Two eggs beaten, seasoned with salt and pepper.
Two eggs beaten, seasoned with salt and pepper.
Can of Century Tuna flakes in oil (you can use the spicy one too!).
Can of Century Tuna flakes in oil (you can use the spicy one too!).
One shallot, black olives and cheese cut into cubes.
One shallot, black olives and cheese cut into cubes.

Saute the onion and tuna first (by the way, please drain excess oil in the can). Once the tuna is almost dried up, include your black olives. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

After three minutes you can add the egg and if you have a non stick pan (I do not have it so the finished product looks a bit crazy) you may include the cheese cubes before flipping so it looks like an egg wrap.

Serve with rice or bread.

As for me, it’s with rice:

I partnered this with tomato ketchup. Good dish!
I partnered this with tomato ketchup. Good dish!

Other suggested ingredients for a fancy scrambled egg are ham and bacon bits, ground meat, mushroom and bell peppers. Wow my mouth is watering at 1:22 AM!

I hope you try this dish. Filling, easy to prepare and delicious! (and it’s a complete meal depending on what you will add so it’s also nutritious).