Homecooks Jorell and Tisha Gonda Domingo visited Romeo Chocolates in Long Beach on Saturday, Feb. 29 to sign copies of their cookbook and demonstrate one of it’s traditional Filipino dessert recipes using a convenient modern tool, the Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot is a pressure and multi cooker that is the cornerstone of the married couple’s book, The Filipino Instant Pot Cookbook, which they co-authored with three other homecooks.
According to the Domingo’s, the Instant Pot is perfectly suited to both Filipino cooking and busy lifestyles. Their book was meant to help a modern generation of Filipino-Americans continue to enjoy the recipes their elders made for them growing up, without having to take as much time out of their day.
“There’s a need for it,” Tisha told the Signal Tribune. “With modern-day parents working, both parents working, it saves so much time and I think maybe the reason why a lot of our generation doesn’t cook these dishes is because it takes like two hours to make the meat tender. So this allows you to cook those foods so much faster, but [they’re] still the Filipino recipes that you want to cook.”
As parents themselves, the Domingos understand the importance of providing filling meals during a busy day. The couple’s own daughter participated in the cooking demonstration for Ginataang Bilo Bilo, helping her parents roll balls of glutinous rice flour for the dessert.
The homecooks also noted that the prevalence of rice flour, instead of wheat and other grains, in Filipino cuisine means that a lot of traditional recipes also happen to be gluten free.
While the recipes in the cookbook come directly from the authors’ families, a few have been tweaked to accommodate those with dietary restrictions.
“Flavor wise we try to get as close to how our moms and dads and uncles and aunts and grandmothers, grandfathers had cooked the dishes,” Jorell said, “but there are a few that have a little bit of a twist.”
This includes a cauliflower adobo recipe for vegetarians who still want an authentic adobo flavor. For those with nut allergies who want to try Kare Kare, a type of stew usually made with peanuts and oxtail, The Filipino Instant Pot Cookbook also provides a peanut substitute while preserving the familiar taste.
A helpful index at the back of the book lists which dishes fit different diets such as vegetarian, keto and more.
While The Filipino Instant Pot Cookbook is filled with recipes from the authors’ families, an ‘authentic’ dish can be different for each Filipino family, as recipes for the same dish vary between regions and families, according to Jorell.
The Domingos taught the crowd gathered at Romeo Chocolates in downtown Long Beach The Filipino Instant Pot Cookbook’s Ginataang Bilo Bilo recipe before serving a portion to everyone. The dessert contains cubes of ube, balls of glutinous rice flour and jackfruit cooked in thickened coconut milk.
Romeo Chocolate’s founder, Romeo Garcia, also served attendees of the cooking demonstration his version of champorado, made with Belgian chocolate and strawberries.
After the cooking demonstration and sampling, the Domingo’s stayed to sign copies of The Filipino Instant Pot Cookbook that people either brought from home or purchased at the event. The cookbook is also available through Amazon and select bookstores, and contains over 75 recipes.