Hamden mom shares childhood recipes from the Phillipines to inspire families

Connecticut Families

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — “We’re making Khao Pad Sapparot which is pineapple fried rice,” says Abigail Sotto Raines, as she begins assembling ingredients in her Hamden kitchen. “This is one of my favorite fried rice because it has all the classic flavors of Asian cooking.”

Sweet, salty, spicy. It’s a combination from Raines’ new cookbook, Rice. Noodles. Yum. “I’m from the Philippines originally. I was born in Manila,” she explains. “We do love rice, so I thought it made sense for me to do a cookbook on something I’m familiar with and really love.”

That love comes from warm memories, cooking with relatives. “When I was young, my grandmother would take me to the market then after that she would teach me how to cook in the afternoon,” remembers Raines. “We would make snacks. Yeah, it’s just like coming home.”

The lawyer turned culinary author also has a popular blog called Manila Spoon. “It’s really a compilation of my family’s favorite recipes, so, you’ll find American, Italian and French food,” she says.

Speaking of family, Raines’ husband and kids are happy to sample her creations and give feedback. Recipes are easy, yet exotic.

Use rice that’s chilled and preferably a day old. Add all ingredients – including cashew nuts – for a new experience around the dinner table that’s educational and delicious.

“You know Pad Thai but there are many Southeast Asian dishes that are so delicious, equally as good, but no one knows about it,” she says. “Try something new and it’s not too hard!”

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