Cooking is being able to make a recipe your own

Finally decided to buy bread. Also bought tomatoes and kangkong, which I added to my shashouka.

Cooking with local leafy vegetables has taken me down interesting, oftentimes embarassing avenues.

For example, I like eating malunggay and tables ng kamote, but I don’t like preparing them. Whoever saw a malunggay tree and thought, ‘the leaves would make a delicious and nutritious addition to our diet if we picked them off the stem one by one’ must have been very bored that day.

Same with talbos. The first time I tried cooking with talbos, I found out the hard way that you weren’t supposed to eat the stems. And since I didn’t want to throw away perfectly fine food, half of my time spent eating my ginisang talbos was also spent removing half-chewed twigs from my mouth.

On the flip side, while I’m merely okay with kangkong as a vegetable (unless it’s served crispy, whereupon ‘okay’ becomes ‘give me more’), it’s my go-to because you can eat every part of it.

I know shakshouka doesn’t include greens in the sauce mix, but this is my breakfast, and I needed a way to eat my greens, so it all works out.

Part of cooking is making a recipe your own and this delicious breakfast, now in my belly, is wholly mine.


Yvette Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and a lifestyle writer for major local and international titles.