Filipino cuisine is as rich as the culture and history of the mother country. The 200-year history of colonization of the Philippines by Spain, the US, and Japan has left its mark in a number of ways. Not least of all is the diverse fusion of delectable international flavors into the local delicacies.
Filipinos love to eat, and starchy carbs make up a big part of many of the dishes you might find in a typical Filipino restaurant or home meal. So the question is can Filipino food be keto-fied? The second question is why would we want to prepare and eat low-carb Filipino foods?
The first question will be answered later. The answer to the second is that the keto diet is gaining in popularity worldwide as an alternative way of eating based on low-carb meal plans. In Asian cuisine, keto-friendly foods can be hard to come by. The ubiquitous rice and noodles and sweet desserts (Filipinos love their desserts too) make it challenging to go low-carb
If you’re wondering what all the fuss about low carb diets is, read on. And then learn about some keto recipes for filipino foods that we think are a winner.
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Eat Fat to Lose Fat – The Keto Way
Said out loud, this statement might elicit a mixed reaction of amusement, disbelief and shock. Considering that, all our lives, we were made to believe that eating fat is simply bad for us. The Keto Diet principle contradicts this common belief with the promise that by following the Ketogenic way of eating, your body will enter a state of “Ketosis” – transforming into a fat-burning machine.
“Ketosis? What Ketosis?”
Ketosis is a normal metabolic state which occurs when your body switches to using body fat instead of carbohydrates as energy. When the body burns fat for energy, it produces ketones, which are used for energy production. Stored fat is easily converted to ketones for energy. When we refrain from consuming carbs and sugar and we switch to fat and protein as primary fuel sources we are essentially in ketosis.
Keto Diet = High Fat, Moderate Protein and Ultra-Low Carbs
If we will translate this to actual food, it would look something like this:
Keto Diet = Avocado, Grilled Chicken and Broccoli
Simple, right? Where it gets tricky is incorporating this eating regime into Filipino culture and cuisine. We’re all foodies here, and unless you have no taste buds, it’s essential to be able to enjoy Filipino food while following a Keto diet.
But it can be done. We’re talking about Rich, Savoury, Flavourful Filipino Food, no less…
Ketofying Filipino Dishes
No“fiesta” or feast in The Philippines is complete without a whole roasted succulent pork (or what is fondly called “lechon” – thanks to Spanish influence) on display at the buffet table. In addition, another Spanish-inspired, Filipino favorite is “adobo”, which basically means “vinegar-braised”. Adobo meat can be pork or chicken.
These meats and many other Filipino dishes are high in fat and protein. Sticking with the fatty cuts of meat, vegetables, and other proteins makes it easier to “ketofy” and transform dishes with minor ingredient deviations. Here are some samples:
- Chicken or Pork Adobo – minus the soy sauce. Use vinegar or coco aminos instead
- Pork Sisig – again, minus the soy sauce and replace it with coco aminos to taste.
- Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette with ground beef) – minus the flour
Some are even Keto-Approved as they are, like the following savory Filipino dishes:
- Pork Sinigang (Pork in Tamarind Soup)
- Lechon Kawali (Deep-Fried Crispy Pork Belly)
- Lechon burger (no bread)
- Bicol Express (Spiced Pork Stew in Coconut Milk)
- Kinilaw na Tuna (Tuna Ceviche)
- Kare-Kare (Filipino Oxtail Stew in Peanut Butter Sauce)
Unfortunately, it cannot be all roses and butterflies. Fans of Filipino food will crave the starchy and carb-filled staple foods that often exemplify the magnificent (and underrated) cuisine of this Pacific nation. So here are some of these high-carb dishes with suggested alternatives to make them Keto-approved.
- Sinangag (Filipino Fried Rice) – Rice is easily identified as a staple food for Filipinos who especially love savoury fried rice with added bits of meat, spices and veggies. Since rice is a no-go for Keto, you can still make it Keto-friendly by replacing rice with chopped cauliflower or broccoli instead.
- Pancit Canton (Filipino Birthday Noodles) – Just like the Chinese, there’s a local version of Birthday Noodles. And since Filipinos cannot celebrate birthdays without this dish, make Ketofied Birthday Noodles by using shirataki noodles instead of flour noodles and coco aminos instead of soy sauce.
- Pancit Palabok (Fiesta Noodles in Shrimp Sauce) – Same as with the Pancit Canton, this can be easily Ketofied by using shirataki noodles.
If you’d like to know more about enjoying keto-friendly Filipino foods and recipes, we’ve got the perfect guide for you. We’re just about to release a new and exciting Keto E-book with a detailed compilation of mouth-watering Ketofied Filipino recipes that will deliciously put you on ketosis like no other.
Be sure to check it out!