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Keeping things simpol

Chef Tatung Sarthou’s new cookbook asserts anyone can cook

CELEBRITY chef and YouTuber Michael Glovan “Tatung” Sarthou is bringing to book form his simpol (“simple”) recipes which are meant to show that anyone can cook.

Titled Simpol, the cookbook takes its name from Mr. Sarthou’s online cooking show on YouTube which currently has over 1 million subscribers.

The book has over 101 recipes that are said to be “easily executed using simple, familiar ingredients,” and are a combination of Filipino recipes alongside international recipes such as Swedish meatballs and Taiwanese-style breaded porkchop.

A cursory look at the cookbook shows an organized table of contents categorized by the main ingredient: chicken, pork, beef, vegetable, seafood, and rice and noodle.

What it offers are “simple, practical, and doable recipes that will empower one to cook with confidence,” said the book’s foreword.

And indeed, while there are some recipes intended for someone who has a bit of experience in the kitchen, there are recipes that can easily be done by someone who might not have even know how to cook — like the Simpol Crispy Pork Belly that, in a nutshell, only requires the cook to marinade a pork belly slab in vinegar and salt and put the meat in a pot of cold cooking oil and letting it cook at medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour.

Each recipe has a QR link for a video version for people who want to see how it’s done.

Ingredients for each recipe are categorized into sets (Set A, Set B, etc.) to show which ingredients are needed for prep and which for actual active cooking.

Owing to Mr. Sarthou’s Cebuano roots, several recipes are Cebuano in origin such as Pork humba though there are also regional Filipino dishes such as the Ilocano poqui-poqui (a vegetable dish that includes tomatoes and eggplant) and the Visayas and Mindanao favorite Sinuglaw (a combination of grilled meat and ceviche or kinilaw).

The recipes are said to have been “perfected and catalogued” by Mr. Sarthou over the years.

Simpol: The Cookbook is available on the ABS-CBN Books’ Lazada and Shopee stores for P350. The book was made in partnership with NutriAsia. — Zsarlene B. Chua    

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