Drew Arellano cooks his mom’s favorite bacalao
KITCHEN SPY - KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng () - September 2, 2004 - 12:00am
One fine Sunday dinner, I was invited to watch Drew Arellano prepare and cook three entrees, as well as have dinner with his family. The Unang Hirit co-host is so popular nowadays that dinner with Drew is sometimes a rare engagement. So, it was lovely to have a meal with his family, let alone see him get his hands dirty while preparing the dishes that night. His family was incredulous at first. However, our "sandigan ng kagwapuhan" pulled through.

Drew is a funny man, indeed. "Baby, you light my fire," he says, while lighting the gas burner to sauté his mother’s favorite bacalao. The kitchen burst out laughing.

It is hard to concentrate when you are with him. This is what Studio 23 saw when it cast him to host Wazzup Wazzup, the news show with a twist, airing on weekdays. With co-hosts funny man Vhong Navarro and Toni Gonzaga, they dish out the latest news with lots of patawa and mga hirits.

In the popular morning show, Unang Hirit, Drew co-hosts Mondays to Fridays, featuring the latest events and happening places. Probably due to his game na game attitude, he was even sent once to a dairy farm in Halili, Bulacan to milk cows. Since the show airs at 5:30 a.m., do not even ask whether he gets enough sleep.

First seen in the youth-oriented show, Click, Drew, with his boyish good looks and happy-go-lucky attitude, was easily accepted by the fickle public. On another GMA 7 show, he shares onscreen time with showbiz hotshots Johnny Delgado, Boyet de Leon, Bobot Mortiz and Pops Fernandez in All Together Now. This time around, he is the ardent suitor of one of showbiz’s newest it-girls, Angel Locsin.

Now seen almost every day on television, Drew is said to have reached bona fide celebrity status. However, do not mistake him for just another pretty face. He is armed with a degree from De La Salle University and was a graduate of the exclusive Xavier school in Greenhills.

After college, he went to San Francisco to work in advertising, his first love. Since he was born in the States, it was not difficult for him to get work. After six months, he was asked to come home to Manila by his business partner. He was more interested in working behind-the-scenes, but a friend of his mother, who owns a talent agency, signed him to do a commercial for Ginebra San Miguel. However, the Sunsilk "Ganda ng Pare Ko" ad aired earlier, so people got to know him first through that commercial.

When he was about to transfer work from his current advertising agency to another, he met Boy Abunda through his lawyer-dad and was convinced by Tito Boy to try show business. Indeed, if all else fails, he still has advertising to fall back on.

Drew’s ride to fame and fortune was a smooth and short one. He became a celebrity in less time than it takes a wannabe to be asked to attend a "call-back." The great thing about him is that all this brouhaha has not gotten into his head yet. He has a firm relationship with his family and with his non-showbiz friends. So, when his mother told him he should cook for the Philippine STAR, he happily obliged.

As he cooked for us that evening, he remembered his first cooking fiasco when he tried to dish out corned beef hash with his friends in Subic. He did not boil the potatoes first, but just chopped them and threw them in with the corned beef, resulting in crunchy, raw potatoes. As years went by, cooking became a bonding activity for him and his dad, celebrity lawyer Atty. Aga Arellano, radio host and sometime lawyer-to-the-stars. His dad taught him how to cook, and their Manang Mary used to be an inspiration, too.

When it comes to making something delicious out of leftovers, his mum, Bernie Arellano, successful rural bank chain owner and current executive director of the Radio Veritas Foundation, is tops. So, with his mom in the background, Drew cooks up a mean whole chicken with liver sauce, his mother’s favorite dish, Portuguese bacalao, and recreates his favorite stuffed squid with Spam for Kitchen Spy readers.
Bernie’s Bacalao
250 g. Portuguese bacalao (soak overnight and change water three times within the 24- hour period because the fish tends to be very salty)
1 250-g. can whole peeled tomato
olive oil
1/2 kilo onions, sliced
1/4 kilo potato
1 small can red pimiento
small can garbanzos
1 tsp. peppercorns, whole

Soak the bacalao for a day in water. Change the water three times during this time, because the fish can get very salty.

In a deep pan, add the peeled tomatoes. Pour enough olive oil to cover the tomatoes. Heat the oil. When the tomatoes curl, add the sliced onions. When the onions become transparent, add the potatoes. When the potatoes are tender, add the soaked bacalao. The fish will expand a little. Add the canned red pimientos. You can also use fresh red bell peppers. Broil them first before adding to the bacalao. Add the garbanzos. Do not stir. Wait for 20-30 minutes. Add the whole peppercorns. Cover and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Drew’s Favorite Stuffed Squid
150 g. cold cuts, or 1 can Spam
1-1/2 k. squid, fresh
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 cloves of garlic
1 small onion

Remove the head of the squids and clean the bodies. Remove the eyes. Remove the skin until white. Remove the fat. Pull out the fins. Remove the ink sac carefully and put in a separate bowl. Chop and mix equal quantities of cold cuts or Spam and the squid tentacles.

Prepare two cloves of garlic and a small onion. Sauté the meat and squid mixture with the garlic and onion. When dry, set aside. Stuff this mixture into the cleaned and skinned squid. Seal with a toothpick.

Sauté two small cloves of garlic and an onion in olive oil. Add the stuffed squid and cook until done. Add the squid ink to the can of tomato sauce. Pour the sauce over the cooked squid and simmer until cooked.
Whole Chicken With Liver Sauce
1 whole chicken
1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, sliced
1/2 kilo chicken liver, cleaned
1 cube chicken bouillon

Rub salt on the chicken. Wash it off after 15 minutes. Rub the chicken with lemon. Then massage with the soy sauce. Line the pan with a little salt. Let the chicken sit on the pan under a low fire. Wait for the oil from the chicken to come out and wait for the pan to sizzle. The chicken is done.

In a separate pan, sauté in the olive oil and butter the sliced onions. Add the cleaned chicken liver. Put a cube of chicken bouillon into one cup of boiling water. Add to the liver mixture. Do not overcook. Season with salt and pepper. Osterize, then pour over the chicken.

Drew’s Mom’s secret: Use fresh chicken liver from a live chicken.
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Feedback is welcome. E-mail starkitchenspy@yahoo.com.

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