4 Dishes Perfect for Cold, Rainy Weather

For most of the Philippines, the months of June and July signal the departure of the hot, muggy days of summer and the arrival of the rainy season. Seemingly overnight, the weather turns cool and rain-soaked. Naturally, people’s appetites turn from the refreshing flavors of salads and shaved ice desserts to dishes with more heft. It’s only fitting that we seek comfort from our food at this time of the year, when winds blow hardest and the rains fall heaviest. It is during this season that we are most vulnerable to the elements, so we need all the help we can get to make ourselves feel safe and warm while storms rage outside our homes.

La Paz Batchoy of Iloilo Province
La Paz Batchoy

If the monsoon season has begun where you live, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few recipes that are sure to make you feel warm and cozy in the midst of even the worst that the rainy season can bring.

Serve Some Sipo Eggs Over Rice for a Rich, Comforting Meal

This legendary dish is often served over piping hot rice and comes from the Philippines’ unofficial food capital, the province of Pampanga. While it may have begun there, its popularity with Filipinos almost ensured that it spread throughout the archipelago. Consequently, almost every Filipino household has their own sipo egg recipe

The original version of sipo eggs features sauteed shelled shrimp and quail eggs, covered with a creamy, savory sauce that is usually made with reduced evaporated milk, along with some vegetables like cubed carrots or peas for texture. Over the years, the dish has undergone several changes, with more regional iterations becoming popular and gaining greater prominence nationally. For example, the Bicol region features a spicy version of the dish with a sauce made from coconut milk and with fresh chilies thrown in for heat. Other versions also include bits of chicken or ham, mixed in with some cubed jicama, radish, or other similar hearty vegetables.

La Paz Batchoy
La Paz Batchoy Is the Perfect Noodle Soup for the Rainy Season 

Few things give warmth and comfort as completely as a bowl of soup, so for keeping warm through the rainy months from June to September, a bowl of La Paz batchoy is just the thing. The dish has its roots in the city of La Paz, Iloilo, but like sipo eggs, batchoy could hardly remain a local secret and soon spread like wildfire. 

The original version featured rice noodles floating in a savory, gingery broth, along with sliced-up bits of pork innards and plenty of sweet chopped spring onions. This version is a dish all on its own, but some versions also serve it with a side of rice for an extra-filling meal.

Congee Turns Ruined Rice into a Feast

No one really knows where congee comes from. Various versions of rice porridge with toppings and sauces have existed in almost every rice-eating culture since their very beginning, but somehow, congee has won a special place in the minds and hearts of Filipinos. This is probably because of the dish’s simplicity and seemingly endless versatility, along with the value of frugality implicit in the dish. Overcooked rice does not necessarily have to go to waste if one knows how to make congee.

Simply simmering a pot of rice with a lot of water and some ginger will produce an acceptable porridge, but to make a true congee, a raw egg must be cracked into it while the porridge is still hot. This cooks the egg and creates ribbons of egg white in the porridge, giving it heft and bite. After that,  sauces, toppings, and condiments that go well with congee seem to be limited only by the breadth of one’s imagination. People put almost anything in their congee: everything from pieces of deep-fried wonton skin, toasted garlic, and slivered onion, to slices of roast pork, poached meatballs, and even steamed pork intestine. 

Oatmeal Makes Breakfast Worth Waking Up For 

Like congee, oatmeal may seem like humble fare, and on the surface, it is. Heating up a pot with some cut oats and enough water to cover them will result in something that can be called oatmeal. However, this version is not likely to satisfy the need for complexity and flavor that modern diners have. Oatmeal on its own, after all, tastes quite bland. For flavor and texture, diners must pitch in and add their own favorite toppings to it.

The basic platform of oatmeal lends itself well to almost any flavor. Most people these days add sweetened components to it, like cinnamon and sugar, or stewed apples and pecans. But savory oatmeals can be just as hearty and satisfying as their sweeter counterparts. Popular savory additions to oatmeal include hard-boiled eggs, grilled sausage, or shrimp sauteed in butter and parsley.

The rainy months may have arrived, but that doesn’t mean we have to brave the storms and winds on our own. With a bowl of one of the dishes mentioned above, we’ll be sure to come out the other end safe and sound.

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