Meatless meals for the Holy Week and beyond

Meatless meals for the Holy Week and beyond

MANILA, Philippines — Going meatless has now become not just a fad.

For some, it is a way of life or is becoming a preferred way of eating even beyond meatless Mondays or Holy Week.

Here are some dishes and recipes you might want to try.

Zi Char: A taste of Singapore

Singapore is undeniably one of the most popular destinations for many Filipinos year-round. With the pandemic still raging, you can only scroll through your last sojourn in the Lion City or reminisce about your days of hawker-hopping.

But you can still have a taste of Singapore with its rich cuisine by cooking at home. Among these are Zi Char dishes. Many Filipinos might not be familiar with the term but chances are, you've had a taste of it when you went hawker-hopping.

Your favorite Chili Crab and Cereal Prawn are actually Zi Char dishes. Zi Char is derived from the Hokkien words for cooking and frying and is a popular cooking style in Singapore influenced by Chinese home cooked meals.

Good news for those who want to relive their favorite Singapore dishes as actor/restaurateur Marvin Agustin together with Singaporean chef Bjorn Shen will be making popular Zi Char dishes in their web series titled "Singapore Reimagined". They will cook Cereal Prawn and Seafood White Bee Hoon with Marvin making his own reimagined dishes using ingredients easily found in the Philippines. Check out the Visit Singapore Philippines page on Facebook for more information.

Coated in butter cereal before being seasoned with salt, sugar, and pepper, the prawns are then deep-fried for a crispy, tangy taste that’s at once sweet and spicy.

A Filipino favorite, Chili Crab also ranks number 35 on CNN’s listing of the world’s 50 most delicious foods. For this local delicacy, mud crab is used, where the crustacean is stir-fried in chili and tomato sauce, with deep fried mantou buns serving as a perfect side-dish compliment.

Akin to our very own bihon, rice vermicelli is the centerpiece of this tasty dish which is usually served with many toppings: shrimp, pork and veggies.

Meatless meal ideas

If you’re looking for meat-free meals that are delicious and healthy, Shopee and Unilever Foods have you covered. Below are some easy Lent-friendly meals you’ll want to make.

Salted Egg Prawns

Prawn preparation:

  1. Season the prawns with Knorr Rostip Chicken Seasoning Powder.
  2. Add the egg white. Coat the prawns with rice flour.
  3. Heat oil to 340F. Deep-fry the prawns until crisp and golden brown.
  4. Set the cooked prawns aside over paper towels until ready to use.

Sauce preparation:

  1. Heat oil in a small wok. Add margarine and stir until it melts.
  2. Add the curry leaves and the finger chilies.
  3. Add the fried prawns, gently tossing it with the sauce.

Salted Egg Prawns

Vego Rolls

Indulge in a refreshing and healthy dish from Vietnam. Wrapped in rice paper, you can fold in different types of vegetables or chopped seafood like shrimp and fish.

Filling preparation:

  1. Heat oil in a wok. Stir-fry the onion and garlic until fragrant.
  2. Season shrimps with Knorr Chicken Powder and black pepper. Add to the pan and stir-fry for one minute.
  3. Add in carrots, green beans and tofu. Stir fry for two minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with Knorr Chicken Powder.
  4. Add the shredded cabbage.
  5. Transfer to a strainer to remove excess liquid from the mixture.
  6. Keep warm until ready to assemble.

Peanut sauce preparation:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  2. Heat the mixture before serving. Add water if a thinner consistency is desired.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning.


  1. Fill a spray bottle with filtered water. Lightly spray rice paper with water. Place the wrapper on a chopping board or any sanitized surface.
  2. Line one side of the rice paper with one whole lettuce leaf.
  3. Place about two tablespoons of vegetable filling on top of the lettuce.
  4. Top with minced garlic (optional).
  5. Sprinkle with ground peanut sugar and finish with a sprig of coriander leaves.
  6. Roll the rice paper, tucking the sides.
  7. Cover the finished rolls with a damp clean towel to prevent it from drying up.
  8. Once all rolls are done, slice each roll into two 1.5 inch segments (similar to sushi).
  9. Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle with additional peanut sugar.
  10. Serve with warm peanut sauce.

Vego Rolls

Tofu Mushroom Cauli Sisig

Enjoy a plate of sizzling sisig without the guilt with this veggie-and-mushroom-filled variation of the classic Filipino dish.

Breading: In a bowl mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Set aside.

Tofu preparation: In a bowl season tofu with Knorr Rostip and black pepper. Deep fry until golden brown and set aside.

Mushroom preparation: Using the breading, dredge the mushroom and tap excess. Deep fry in the same frying oil used in tofu until golden brown, set aside.

Cauliflower: Using the breading, dredge the blanched cauliflower and tap excess. Deep fry in the same frying oil used in tofu until golden brown, set aside.

Eggplant soy dressing: In a bowl, combine all ingredients until well incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.


  1. In a wok, heat margarine. Add onions and chilies and sautee until they are soft. Add in tofu, mushroom and cauliflower. Saute for three minutes.
  2. Season with Knorr Liquid Seasoning and turn off heat. Fold in Eggplant Soy dressing and mix until well combined.
  3. Transfer to a sizzling plate and garnish with cherry tomatoes, leeks and spring onions.
  4. Serve with calamansi on the side.

Tofu Mushroom Cauli Sisig

Fresh Ube Lumpia

Give your regular lumpia a twist with a hint of sweetness from ube strips.

Lumpia filling:

  1. Add oil to the wok and apply medium heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft. Then, add ube to the wok and saute.
  3. Pour water and Knorr Shrimp powder and bring to boil.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss lightly. Cover for one min, then apply high heat and remove cover. Toss and mix well until it's cooked.
  5. Transfer to a colander to remove excess liquid. Set aside to cool.

Lumpia sauce:

  1. Mix everything (except cornstarch and water) in a pot. Apply heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for one to three minutes.
  3. Add Slurry (cornstarch and water mixture) to thicken the sauce.

Ube savory crepe/wrapper:

  1. In a bowl mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Rest the batter in the chiller for 30 minutes.
  2. In a Teflon pan, add oil and cook 1/3 cup of the crepe batter.


  1. Add lettuce on top of the crepe, top the lettuce with filling, then fold.
  2. Drizzle with Lumpia Sauce and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Fresh Ube Lumpia

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