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Chicken and pork adobo served in a white bowl

12 Lutong Pinoy Recipes to Master in Your 20s

Want to develop a new essential skillset in your 20s? Improve your home cooking abilities by mastering the traditional lutong Pinoy recipes listed below. Most of these only require basic cooking know-how and leave plenty of space for creativity and customization. Once you’ve perfected the classics, you’ll have a stronger foundation for growing your skills. Eventually, you can move on to more complex recipes. You may even develop unique dishes of your own!

Essential Lutong Pinoy Recipes to Master

Do you already know how to make a basic Filipino adobo? Challenge yourself with other traditional dishes like sinigang, kaldereta, and ginataang gulay.

1. Beef giniling

Beef giniling with carrots, potatoes, and quail eggs

Beef giniling is a savory tomato-based ground beef dish with mixed veggies and aromatics. Some recipes include quail eggs, raisins (for a hint of sweetness!), and olives. It’s an economical ulam that offers plenty of protein and fiber, especially if you load it up with veg.

2. Pork menudo

Pork menudo or Filipino pork and tomato stew with carrots, potatoes, pork, and pork liver

Pork menudo is one of many classic tomato-based Filipino stews. Its main ingredients are pork, liver, carrots, and potatoes. Other variations call for sliced red hotdogs and garbanzo beans. The best menudo is one that simmers for hours. You want the pork to become tender and the rich liver flavor to melt into the sauce.

3. Ginataang gulay

Ginataang gulay, or stir-fried vegetables and coconut cream sauce

Ginataang gulay is a hearty vegetable stew with local veggies and a luscious coconut sauce. Traditional recipes feature kalabasa, sitaw, and okra, among other affordable and easy-to-find veggies. Beginner cooks use Knorr Ginataang Gulay Mix to shorten the cook time for this lutong Pinoy gulay recipe. Just add water, and you're good to go.

4. Sinigang na baboy

Traditional sinigang na baboy with tomatoes and greens

Every Pinoy home cook should know how to make sinigang na baboy. Over time, you can elevate yours with personal twists. Some cooks get creative with their souring agents. For example, they use watermelon or guava instead of the traditional sampalok. If you're not ready for that, keep it simple with Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok Mix. It's a household staple that always hits the spot when you're craving lutong Pinoy na may sabaw.

5. Kalderetang baka 

Beef kaldereta with peas, carrots, and bell peppers served in a white dish

This beefy tomato stew is a labor of love. Many cooks swear that simmering the beef overnight is the secret to the most tender kalderetang baka. Because of the care involved in its cooking, this dish is often the centerpiece ulam at Filipino fiestas and celebratory dinners.

6. Lumpiang Shanghai 

Lumpiang Shanghai or Filipino spring rolls served on a banana leaf

Lumpiang Shanghai is a Filipino fried spring roll with minced pork and veggies. You can’t have a birthday party without these crunchy rolls and a bottle of sweet chili sauce. While you can buy ready-to-fry frozen lumpia, it's also worth learning how to roll them yourself.

7. Chopsuey

Chop suey or stir-fried vegetables served on a white dish

Chopsuey is a Chinese-American veggie stir-fry that Filipinos embrace as their own. The dish's name literally translates to “odds and ends,” alluding to the use of whatever ingredients are readily available. Make this if you want to sharpen your knife skills – chopsuey cooks best when all components are bite-sized and uniform.  

8. Tortang talong

Filipino tortang talong or fried eggplant dish served on a white plate

In 2022, food and travel guide Taste Atlas ranked tortang talong as “the best egg dish in the world.” This humble omelet only requires two main ingredients: grilled eggplant and scrambled eggs. Challenge yourself to cook the eggplants over direct flame without burning them!

8. Chicken tinola

Chicken tinola soup in a bowl

Chicken tinola tastes like comfort, especially on cold, rainy days. It's chicken soup in its purest form, with its mild, gingery broth, generous cuts of chicken, and tender green papaya wedges.

10. Grilled liempo

Soy-marinated pork belly or Filipino pork liempo served on banana leaves

No backyard barbecue is complete without liempo. The key to perfecting your version is nailing the marinade. You want to balance sweet and savory flavors in every bite. For the cooking method, grilling the pork over hot coals is best if you want that smoky char. The sugars in the marinade should caramelize into a crisp, flavorful crust.

11. Pancit Canton

Pancit canton with vegetables and shrimp

Pancit Canton is the local version of Chinese lo mein. It consists of assorted stir-fried meat, blanched veggies, and flour noodles, all cooked in a glossy, umami-filled sauce. Instant versions are widely available, but homemade will always taste best.

12. Beef bulalo 

Beef bulalo with corn and vegetables

Beef bulalo uses beef shank. While this cut can be intimidating to work with when you're a new cook, getting it right can be incredibly rewarding. The extra time and care you put into simmering the meat until tender will result in a rich, beefy stock.

Ready to master these classic lutong bahay dishes? Keep practicing your kitchen skills and you’ll be a pro home cook before you hit 30!

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