Kare-kare, Nuggets + 5 Tipid Versions Of Your Favorite Ulam, Starting At P100

Kare-kare, Nuggets + 5 Tipid Versions Of Your Favorite Ulam, Starting At P100
Image courtesy of @panaygutom, @misisb / Instagram

In these trying times, when many are facing an uncertain financial future or are living on a tight budget, putting food that is both nutritious and affordable on the table can be a bit of a challenge.

Whether you are living by yourself or with your family members, food budget is a big consideration these days, especially since the price of basic commodities has gone up. But, these foodie moms show how they make delicious ulam affordable with these recipe tweaks.

1. Binagoongang Tofu at Talong

In order to make their favorite ulam, Melanie, a 43-year-old housewife, decided to replace pork with tofu and eggplant to keep it budget-friendly. “Since sobrang mahal na talaga ng kilo ng baboy, gumawa pa rin ako ng Binagoongan, pero tokwa at talong na may kapirasong pork na lang,” she captioned her IG post. “It’s healthier and it can [yield] more servings compared to when I use pork,” she says.

To make Melanie’s Binagoongang Tofu at Talong recipe, start by pan-frying 3 blocks of sliced tofu and 2 pieces of sliced eggplant until they’re slightly crispy. In a separate pan, sauté 4 cloves of minced garlic and 1 medium-size diced onion, then add the fried tofu and eggplant. Mix 3 tablespoons bagoong, 1 piece chopped siling haba, and season it with sugar, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.

2. Kare-kareng Bidbid

You can still have this comfort food without spending too much with this Kare-kareng Bidbid recipe by Melanie’s mom. “Bidbid fish is way cheaper compared to beef tripe, ox tail, or even pork, and the cooking and preparation is a lot easier and faster,” she says.

To make Kare-kareng Bidbid, mix 1/4 kilo of deboned bidbid fish, 2 beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon of flour, and 4 stalks of chopped kinchay in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture on a pan, put some oil, cover, and allow to cook over low to medium heat. After 15 to 20 minutes, it will have formed like a pancake. Mare sure to flip it in order to cook both sides. Once done, slice it in wedges and set aside.

For the Kare-kare sauce: In a casserole, put atsuete oil, 3 cups of coconut cream, and 1 cup of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add ½ cup of peanut butter, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and fish sauce to taste.

“You may also put some steamed veggies like petchay, eggplant and string beans,” Melanie adds. Serve with bagoong.

3. Chicken Siomai

Mitze, a housewife, made homemade siomai using chicken meat instead of beef or pork as the main ingredient. She says chicken is cheaper, healthier, and easy to prepare.

To make her Chicken Siomai recipe, mix 1 kilo of ground chicken (breast part and without skin), 2 diced large onions, 2 beaten egg, ¼ cup of flour, 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Once the mixture is ready, scoop 1 tablespoon of it on a siomai or molo wrapper.

Using a steamer, steam the wrapped siomai for 20-30 minutes over high heat, and for fried siomai, simply deep-fry the pieces until they are golden brown. Serve with soy sauce, calamansi, and chili garlic dip.

4. Tofu Nuggets

Another healthy and budget-friendly recipe is Mitze’s Tofu Nuggets which, for just Php 100 or less, can feed 6 to 8 persons. “This is a perfect snack or ulam. You can make it even more enjoyable to eat by making your own dipping sauce,” she says.

To make Mitze’s Tofu Nuggets recipe, cut 2 blocks of tofu into 12 rectangular pieces, then soak in water with salt and pepper for about 30-45 minutes. Afterwards, drain the tofu and wrap in kitchen paper to remove excess water. Rub with salt and pepper and dredge in a mixture of ½ cup of flour, 2 beaten eggs, and 2 cups of breadcrumbs, one slice at a time. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes until each side turns light golden brown.

For the sauce, whisk together 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of honey, 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce, salt, and pepper.

5. Bangus Steak

For Catherine, 43 years old, milkfish or bangus is the perfect alternative to meat in any dish. “Aside from its affordability, it is one of the tastiest and healthiest fish in the market,” she says.

To make her Bangus Steak recipe, season a large bangus (cut into 6 pieces) with salt and pepper, and pan-fry until golden brown. Set aside. In the same pan, sauté 3 cloves of minced garlic and set aside. Then, sauté half of the sliced onion and allow it to caramelize.

Add cornstarch, 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce and oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon of calamansi juice, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Boil until the sauce thickens. Drizzle it on your fried bangus, then top with caramelized onion and crunchy garlic.

6. Tinolang Halaan

Catherine also shares her Tinolang Halaan recipe which is ideal if you’re on a really tight budget. “This is the perfect ulam to prepare because a half kilo of clams only costs Php 40 in the market,” she shares.

To make Catherine’s Tinolang Halaan, begin by sautéing 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 chopped medium onion, and 1 thumb of julienned ginger. Add 1 piece of sliced sayote and cook for 1 minute. Then, add 1/2 kilo of halaan or clams and 2 cups of water. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Once the shells are open, add 1 cup of sili leaves and season with salt and pepper.

7. Dinengdeng na Saluyot at Labong

Growing up in an Ilocano household, Rea, 42, a digital marketing and PR consultant, learned this budget-friendly yet nutritious recipe from her lolo. She has now introduced the dish to her kids as well.


To make Rea’s Dinengdeng na Saluyot at Labong, boil 1/4 kilo of labong until the distinct smell evaporates. “I boil mine 3 times before I start boiling for good,” she shares. Then, add 2 pieces of sliced tomato, 1 diced onion, 3 tablespoons of bagoong balayan, salt, and pepper. Cook for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, over low heat. Add saluyot and cook for another 10-12 minutes.


“This recipe is best paired with salted egg and inihaw na bangus,” she adds.

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