These 6 Filipinx Recipes Turn Pantry Staples Into a Cozy Winter Menu

“We’re not really a restaurant,” says Melissa Miranda, chef-owner of Seattle’s Musang. “We’re a community space.” 

When Miranda and her team opened Musang in January 2020, they already had a loyal Seattle following built through countless pop-ups and collaborations. Via Kickstarter, they raised money to fund the build-out of their location in the fast gentrifying neighborhood of Beacon Hill, where Miranda spent her youth. The closure of Filipinx restaurants that were once community mainstays pushed Miranda toward her vision of ensuring that the city would always have a place to experience “personal and intimate Filipinx dishes inspired by our childhood memories.”

Central to Filipinx culture is the concept of bayanihan—living in community, offering generosity to family and strangers alike. Musang is a contemporary embodiment of this value: During the restaurant’s first two months, when wait times averaged three and a half hours, Miranda and her crew rode a breathless high. Then the pandemic hit. While still grieving losses and making sure her employees were paid, she opened a community kitchen, offering free meals two days a week to folks in need, no questions asked.

Here Miranda presents an array of Filipinx recipes meant to be prepared at home using pantry staples like coconut milk, seasoning salt to build layers of flavor. The dishes take inspiration from Musang, where the menu is proudly nostalgic but reflects a progressive approach to classic dishes (just like Miranda’s choice to embrace Filipinx, a signifier that includes people of all gender identities). In a traditional chicken adobo, the meat is braised in soy sauce and vinegar until it collapses into slippery submission. Musang’s version is oven-roasted, leading to tender meat on the bottom of the pot as well as crispy skin on the top—“the best of both worlds,” Miranda says. 

By highlighting the pantry staples these six recipes are built around, Miranda hopes to show people that, “you can enjoy our food and experience our culture with a pretty quick turnaround. I want to make it accessible.” She imagines a home cook searching their kitchen for inspiration: “I have chicken, I have soy and vinegar—why not make adobo?” Roasted adobo, that is.

Try chef Melissa Miranda’s recipes and favorite pantry products:

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