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Filtering by Category: Healthy Plate

Lunch Teleserye 1 : Banana-Malunggay Soup

The Moringa Kitchen

A few days ago, I thought of having a simple soup that should have clean-tasting broth, filling for the tummy and loaded with greens and other vegetables. I’ve been trying to lessen rice in my diet, and yet I don’t want my carbohydrate consumption insufficient since I am breastfeeding, and I need lots of good calories.

Where I come from, we call the All-Veggie, Anything-You-Can Fill the Pot Veggie Soup - Utan Bisaya. It is a Cebuano term which loosely means vegetable soup cooked the Bisaya way, usually with added dried fish, fried fish, malunggay, alugbati, squash, lemongrass, okra…anything that is from the backyard vegetable patch or whatever is sitting on the kitchen table.

My people in the South call it utan pinobre, the poor man’s soup. I grew up with our house help usually adding a dash or “tak-tak” of the infamous vetsin that makes anything taste extra delicious, even the poor man’s soup was not spared. It’s obvious many people still add these things, although now they have taken on new forms and names.

But let’s have none of the nasty “tak-tak” vetsin. A little bit of research will tell you what’s bad about it. There are many ways to make a simple vegetable soup savoury and delicious.  

Lucia, Mela & Martine were playing in the yard before lunch, picking the last of the flowers that's survived the summer heat, and got curious why we added saba banana in the soup. They are used to having it fried or boiled. Wouldn’t it be weird to the taste? I told them that it adds a nice, subtle sweet flavour to the broth. 

On another note, talking about soup, I had a very funny experience one time ordering a vegan soup for a vegan guest, in a non-vegan restaurant. To say that it was a vegan disaster was an understatement. It was a scene out of a comedy show.

A very special friend from Manila visited me and my family, and she happened to be strictly vegan. But throughout her vacation, she was able to sustain herself by eating vegetarian meals, as an exception to her daily rule. We planned to go to dinner and thought the Italian restaurant should do. It was getting late, and there was no more time to look for good Indian food. I don't know why but at this fairly good Italian restaurant everything went wrong that night… from the wilted salad greens, to the most ridiculous vegetable soup. My vegan friend ordered minestrone, and requested only not to add salt, not to add meat/butter, just to be sure. The soup came and behold - the little bowl only had pieces of broccoli florets, swimming in a pale broth. A bit miffed, I asked for the manager and inquired that perhaps they made a mistake.

The lady manager with the air of a Marquesa defended the wee soup and told me that’s how they do it in Italy.


“Yes Mam, I‘ve lived a long time in Italy and that’s how they prepare it.”

I turned to my vegan friend. I thought both our eye balls popped out… I thought I heard the slap bass of Seinfeld. However, we are peaceful people, and yes we gave the manager a slight nod to be done with it. Sensing our disappointment she offered to improve the minestrone, and it came back with a bit more mushy zuchinni, tomatoes,  and a tomatoey-reddish broth. My friend endured the “delightfu”l minestrone. In my mind, why do we go through the inanities of a restaurant when you can make a good utan bisaya at home?

This Banana-Malunggay soup is very simple. A light chicken & vegetable broth without the vetsin. Also, it’s anything but anaemic of vegetables, there are more good veggies floating in this soup!

You can make this anytime, and you can even bring it to work.

This can be your ready to eat soup in a jar.

Go make!


Chicken Broth

  • 500ml drinking water

  • about 50g or 100g chicken meat

  • 2 small stalks of Lemongrass, wash and pound the leaves and root part using a mortar and pestle to release its aromatic oils, fold or coil the leaves, tie up into a small bundle

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced

  • 1 inch fresh, mashed ginger

  • 1 medium sized ripe tomato, cut in half or slice to small pieces

  • 1 tsp pure coconut oil


  • 1/2 cup fresh malunggay-moringa leaves only

  • 2 medium sized potatoes quartered

  • 3 medium sized mid-ripe saba banana, thick circle slices

  • 1/2 of medium sized carrot, thick circle slices

  • 1/4 of a medium sized cabbage

To Make:

  • Make the chicken broth: sauté the garlic, mashed ginger and tomatoes in 1 tsp pure coconut oil, until it becomes fragrant; add the pieces of chicken meat, sauté slightly; add water and the lemongrass bundle, let it simmer for sometime until the flavors come together.

  • Adding the fruit/vegetables: add the potatoes first, when almost cooked through, add the carrots, then the saba bananas, make sure you don’t over cook the bananas that it becomes mushy, let the flavours mix, simmer for about 3-5 minutes, add salt to taste, then add the sliced cabbage and last the malunggay leaves.

Serve hot!

Enjoy your healthy soup!

No anaemic minestrone, please!

Can you imagine "that" conversation between Matutina and Dolphy? Or Brosia and her Amo? Pen Medina, please write it, lots of love here from your fan!

Now I’m thinking of making more variations of the Utan Bisaya! 

Keep you posted!




The Moringa Kitchen

She was very fond of making chiffon cake. I thought of making chiffon too for Mother’s day. However, a stack of ripening bananas sat in one corner and I thought to make Chiffon I’d be using lots of eggs and lots of sugar. Ma, why not a better Banana Bread? I’m sure you would approve it, just the same as chiffon.

I imagine that she’s here. We would eat cake, there would be a cup of tea for her, and hot chocolate for me. We would talk about where my heart is, and all the nonsense we love. But my heart is crushed again because I could no longer touch her. Modern society and its celebration of Mother’s Day bites hard at me, year after year. It’s incredibly hard for me to celebrate outside the house. It’s insane. All the flowers, the food and people hugging and kissing their moms. I will die with my tears! I prefer being cocooned at home with the kids.

I remember the yellows. She said I look good in yellow. I can count by the fingers the few times I wore yellow. I think it’s about the only thing that I disagreed with her. In everything, our hearts and minds were fused. In the end, I realized that she was a soul mate. When I try to find her, the connection instantly goes to baking. That’s why I am always happy when I bake.

So for this banana bread, maybe you can call it special or better than your usual banana bread. I adapted this recipe from a mom blogger named Sophistimom. How can you go wrong with a name like that? Sophistimom is very lovely and her recipes really work. I was glad I saved the recipe before her site crashed! I thought it’s the best banana recipe I’ve tried… fluffy, moist, with just the right banana flavor. The only thing I added is the dried pure Moringa leaf flakes, mixed into the batter.

Go bake, be happy and enjoy this yummy Moringa Banana Bread!

2 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp crushed sea salt
1/2 tsp Dried Pure Moringa leaf flakes

3 large ripe bananas
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup goat milk yoghurt or low fat sour cream
2 eggs beaten
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

To Bake:
Preheat the oven to 350F
Line 2 medium sized loaf pans with baking paper

  1. In a mixing bowl combine, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl mash well the ripe bananas.
  3. Add and mix one at a time the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir, until they are all thoroughly mixed.
  5. Pour mixture in the lined loaf pans.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Test if the batter is done by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the loaf, it should come out clean, and not wet.
  7. Cool the banana cakes to room temperature in their moulds.
  8. Flip them out of the pans, slice and serve with tea or your favorite drink.


The 80-20 Meal

The Moringa Kitchen

I met a physician based in Diliman many, many years ago who practiced complementary medicine and who was known for her nutritional recommendations for cancer patients. I learned from this doctor the idea of the 80-20 meals.

It's a very simple, practical guideline for making everyday meals healthier. This is the simple formula that I try to follow every time I eat or prepare meals:

80%  leafy greens, vegetables, whole grains, fruit

20%  clean & lean protein, healthy fats


This 80-20 combination can be adjusted in many ways according to your food preference or nutritional needs. Consider too having Malunggay daily in your 80-20 meals. Malunggay is a very good green food, a super food even when you take it in small amounts. Many times I can push the 80-20 for my own plate to go meatless, or to have a good enough amount of protein.This way I don't keep on second guessing and it's easy to get back on track if you've had less leafy greens, or if you fall off the tracks because of the bacon and chips, and the darn tres leches cake!

The 80-20 works for all of us, and it stopped me from doing the trendy diets, which can get old or tiring, and eating well should not be complicated nor expensive. This formula allows you to eat a variety of good things. I believe that's how it should be, after all the body was not designed to be starved.

This concept also taught us to scrap eventually all the processed deli, canned foods, etc.. It was hard at first but it brought us to putting back indigenous foods and whole food eating to our table, and we were forced to clean up our food supply chain.

This 80-20 is such a good idea.

I hope it works for you!






Raw Saba & Apple Cider-Turmeric Tonic

The Moringa Kitchen

Almost every morning I eat 1 piece of raw - ripe saba banana before my main meal. This helps me ease my digestion, and help curb the cravings for sugary sweets. There are many health benefits to eating raw saba banana. You can add it too for your smoothies.

In the mornings, I also take a cup of water with 1/2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar, and a dash of turmeric to add to my daily intake of anti-inflammatory foods ( I prefer miniscule amounts of turmeric taken as part of my daily food rather than a therapeutic dose...). I don't know what exactly is in Apple Cider Vinegar but it really cures quickly the mild maladies like headaches, constipation, cough & cold, etcetera.

A word of caution for pregnant women - Turmeric is not recommended as it may cause bleeding or miscarriage. Avoid taking supplements with turmeric if you are pregnant.

Have a nice "digestive" morning! :)

MANGO TOMATO with Pure Fresh Malunggay Leaves Smoothie

The Moringa Kitchen

I learned this fruit combination from my mother when I was in my teens. I disliked tomatoes then, and although I eat it now, I still cannot stomach to drink the juice. My mother used to tell me to drink it for good skin but it was just too hard do. She had the idea of blending it with mangoes to fix the unpleasant taste,  and it turned out quite delicious.

Instead of tomato juice, I'm using here one piece of blanched ripe tomato, mixed with water and mangoes. This smoothie mix is very filling, and has a very nice fruity herbal taste.


  • Two (2) sweet mango "cheeks"
  • One (1) piece medium size blanched ripe tomato
  • 1 small sprig of Fresh Malunggay leaves - the taste of fresh malunggay leaves can be "spicy", you have the option to lessen the amount of leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

To Make:

  • Scoop out the mango flesh, put in the blender with the tomato, malunggay leaves and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Mix to smoothie, add more water if you want a thinner consistency.
  • Pour into a glass, add ice.
  • Drink right away or you can cool in the fridge.
  • Best to consume it within the day.