Kitchen 143

[Kitchen 143] Five quick swaps for a healthier kitchen

Michelle Aventajado
[Kitchen 143] Five quick swaps for a healthier kitchen

For so many of us, Caldo of any kind offers us the ability to ‘top up’ and get creative with toppings.

Michelle Aventajado

Plus: Three ways to prepare adlai

Small, holistic changes in the kitchen can create maximum impact on health and wellness when feeding our families.

In an episode of Kitchen 143, Hindy Weber and Melanie Teng-Go of Holy Carabao shared simple ingredient swaps that we can make in our pantries and kitchens that offer opportunities for healing and building immunity through fresh flavors.


Generally speaking, the less the product is processed, the better it is for your kitchen and your health. When choosing cooking oils, or oils that you will use for flavoring dressings and dishes, the best options are cold pressed, unrefined, and unbleached.

If you are pan frying or deep frying, it is important to consider the flash points of each oil to accommodate what you will be cooking, and it is best to stay far away from hydrogenated oils of any sort.

TRY: Swap out salad oils with macadamia or walnut oil. Pan fry in extra virgin olive oil, and incorporate MCT cold pressed coconut oil into your diet as a supplement.


Salt is important in our diets because it plays a role in fluid balance, nerve conduction, and muscle contraction. Switching from iodized salt to natural salts like Himalayan and Sea Salt limits potential damage to the gut.

Salt with iodine can upset gut flora and digestion, and ultimately, the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.

 TRY: Swap out iodized salt for Himalayan salt.


Excess sugar consumption is linked to obesity, increases the risk of heart disease, and leads to type 2 diabetes. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose are often hidden in every day ingredients.

Sugar does not add any nutritional value to our diet. Looking for alternative ways to sweeten desserts or dishes – Yacon syrup, raw wild honey, and Monk fruit – provide for healthier sugar consumption.

TRY: Raw Wild Honey to sweeten all natural yogurt and all natural teas, in place of sugary sweetened drinks. Replace white sugar with coco sugar.

Sauces and liquid seasoning

Reading the label on everything we bring into our homes is the first step to understanding how we can make healthier choices for our pantries and our kitchens. Sugar is not the only hidden ingredient we have to look for in sauces and condiments. Staying away from added MSG found in liquid seasonings is easy to do with local products.

TRY: Liquid or coco aminos instead of soy sauce.


As with any ingredient we bring into the home, using grains, nuts, and seeds in their truest, most original form is the best way to create a more holistic kitchen. Rice is a good carbohydrate and naturally gluten free. Rich in B vitamins, rice can also improve the health of your nervous system.

TRY: Swap out white rice for healthier alternatives like adlai, quinoa, shirataki, couscous, or cauliflower rice.

More on adlai

This proudly Pinoy grain is rich in protein and fiber and a great alternative in many of our comfort dishes. During the most recent live episode of Kitchen 143, Holy Carabao founders, Hindy Weber and Melanie Teng-Go not only armed us with all the different ways to choose a healthier options for our families, but they also showed us how easy it is to make a hearty seafood paella using fresh Filipino vegetables and more.

Fresh, organic ingredients multiply the health benefits of this comforting dish.
Michelle Aventajado

(By Hindy and Melanie)


  • 2 cups adlai
  • 4 cups fresh chicken stock
  • Sliced tomatoes 
  • Fresh tomato sauce
  • 2 roasted bell peppers with skin removed
  • 1 head of chopped garlic 
  • 2 chopped onions
  • ½ teaspoon Kasubha
  • 6-8 squash flowers
  • carrots
  • string beans
  • 500 grams chicken
  • 500 grams shrimp
  • 500 grams squid
  • 400 grams mussels (optional)
  • 1 piece chorizo (optional)
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Lemon
  • Paprika

Cooking the toppings

  • Hard boil the egg. Set aside. 
  • Slightly sautée and flavor the seafood with garlic, onions, salt, pepper, and paprika. Add a bit of chicken stock, and the juice of half a lemon, then set aside. (Half cook the seafood and take it off the heat. You will add this to the adlai mixture later.) 
Adding freshly harvested squash flowers to this dish provides for additional health benefits that boosts immunity and are good for eye health.
Michelle Aventajado

Cooking the adlai

  • Sautée onions and garlic in olive oil in a cast iron skillet
  • Brown chicken and chorizo (optional). 
  • Add adlai, kasubha, tomato sauce, chicken stock, turmeric, bell pepper, carrots, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. 
  • When the adlai is cooked, add the cooked squid, shrimp, mussels on top. Add fresh bell pepper and string beans. Brush all the toppings with olive oil. 
  • Cook for another 5 minutes. 
  • When seafood and peppers are cooked, top with quartered hard boiled eggs. Drizzle with lemon juice, paprika and squash flowers.
  • Serve with a slice of lemon.
Adlai caldo


  • 2 cups adlai, washed and cleaned
  • 4 cups chicken stock (set chicken aside for your toppings)
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 1 thumb-sized fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced
  • Kasubha
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Sliced or shredded chicken
  • Sliced green onions
  • Cubed and fried hard tofu
  • Sliced hard boiled eggs
  • Fried garlic
  • Pork floss (optional)
  • Century egg (optional)
  • Salted egg (optional)
This paella was cooked outdoors, but can easily be made on the stovetop.
Michelle Aventajado


  • Sauté onions, ginger, and turmeric in extra virgin olive oil. Add garlic once the onions are translucent.
  • Add washed adlai, sauté for a a few minutes in the aromatics and then cover completely with chicken stock. Add Kasubha.
  • Repeat this process until adlai is cooked, but still firm
  • Serve it warm and top with shredded chicken, tofu, hard boiled eggs, and fried garlic.
Adlai champorado


  • 1 cup washed and cleaned adlai
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 pieces tablea
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 2 tablespoons coco sugar
  • ½ cup cream or milk 
  • 2 tablespoons condensed milk 
  • Crispy fried danggit
  • Chopped dark chocolate
Adlai is a versatile grain that makes merienda earthy and rich with tablea champorado and danggit.
Michelle Aventajado


  • Boil adlai in water with tablea until cooked but firm.
  • Add dark chocolate, cream, and sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • Top with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, or danggit.


Shop for healthy alternatives with this MetroMart voucher.

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Michelle Aventajado

Michelle Aventajado is a Filipina American striving for an ever-elusive balance in everything she does. Advocating for individuals with IDD through Best Buddies Philippines, sharing her parenting journey with her daughter's extra chromosome through Momma 'N Manila, and churning out love of home and hearth through Kitchen 143 are just some of the things that fuel her passion and serve her God-given purpose.