Marvelous leftover makeovers

Published December 30, 2021, 1:00 PM

by Sol Vanzi

The season of holiday feasts lasts way beyond Christmas and New Year, stretching the household cook’s imagination and ability to turn holiday leftovers into appetizing new meals. Many Filipino party favorites are good ingredients for recipes that sometimes turn out better than the original.

Lechon beyond paksiw

Cold lechon from the refrigerator is one of the most versatile items in the kitchen, converted into French, Korean, American, Chinese, Japanese, and Mideast entrees.  Before storing, separate the bones and skin from the meat. Also put together the head and feet.

  1. Stir-fry the meat with oyster sauce and any vegetable: kangkong, asparagus, broccoli.  Finish with sesame oil.
  2. For barbeque, brush pieces with sauce made with banana catsup, vinegar, hot sauce, soy sauce, then grill.
  3. Make shawarma by combining sliced lechon, tomatoes, onions, garlic mayonnaise, lettuce on flatbread, tortilla, or pizza crust.
  4. Turn feet and head into humba by simmering leftovers in soy sauce, ginger, star anise, broth, and salt to taste.
  5. Make arroz caldo, ramen, or bachoy with broth and meat from boiled bones.
  6. Cook lechon feet with Mama Sita kare-kare mix or sauce.
  7. Turn sliced head into dinakdakan or chop into sisig.


Many Filipino party favorites are good ingredients for recipes that sometimes turn out better than the original.


Boiled or grilled eggplants— A regular on Pinoy buffets, these normally become tortang talong (eggplant omelet), but are better baked with sauce and cheese or stuffed with leftover embutido.


Pasta sauce— Mini pizzas from pan de sal spread with sauce and topped with cheese. If the sauce is not sweet, use it as base to make paella.

Pan de sal pizza by NutriAsia


Embutido— Mash or chop embutido and add to fried rice, pasta soup, omelets, and pizza.


Fish fillet—These are usually originally breaded and deep-fried. Cover with a sweet-sour sauce with pineapple bits. Another good sauce has salted black beans (tausi).

Fish fillet with pineapple (Jachelle Stephanie)


Fried chicken— Yes, kids get so tired of fried chicken. To serve them again, drench them with a creamy sauce and bake with a topping of grated cheese. Fried chicken could also be cooked in a curry sauce, with or without coconut milk.


Adobong pusit— In Cavite, pansit pusit is a favorite. We add soaked noodles (bihon or sotanghon) to the adobo and stir-fry, seasoning with patis and salt to taste.

Ink noodles or pansit pusit


Buttered mixed veggies— These make great minestrone. Simmer with leftover lechon, ham, beans, pasta, and serve with grated cheese.

Image courtesy of Maggi.