Jameson Journal

10 Filipino Cocktail Appetizers That'll Rule Your Next Boozy Bash

It's cocktail time! Serve one of our favorites, Lumpiang Keso (pictured), cheese-filled crispy spring rolls.

A Saturday night with your friends, listening to new music and drinking smooth Irish whiskey. What could be better?

Some fantastic Filipino finger food to go with it. That’s what! Which is why we’re sharing our top 10 Filipino cocktail appetizers with you. From crunchy crackling, cheese-filled crispy spring rolls and shrimp fritters to soft and chewy rice cakes, morish mussels and munchable meatballs, there’s something for everyone.

Food and drink sorted; all you need is the music. May we suggest Jameson Connects. Coming to you direct from The Palace, Manila, the final installment in this three-part series features Curtismith and August Wahh. Just scroll on in on February 12th. You’re welcome.

Nilupak

First on our list and one of the easiest cocktail appetizer recipes you could wish for, this delicious Filipino delicacy is made from just four ingredients – cassava, condensed milk, butter and salt. Its name ‘nilupak’ means ‘mashed’. Which is exactly what it is!

  • 2 lbs cassava, peeled and cut into short lengths
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • Add the cassava and salt to a pot, cover with water and bring to the boil.
  • Continue to boil, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until very tender, then remove from the pot.
  • Once cooled, remove and discard the tough core, then mash the cassava until smooth.
  • Combine the mashed cassava with the condensed milk and butter in a bowl and stir until creamy.
  • Scoop the mixture into greased molds or small bowls and serve on banana leaves with a topping of your choice.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs cassava, peeled and cut into short lengths
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup butter, softened

How To Make

  • Add the cassava and salt to a pot, cover with water and bring to the boil.
  • Continue to boil, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until very tender, then remove from the pot.
  • Once cooled, remove and discard the tough core, then mash the cassava until smooth.
  • Combine the mashed cassava with the condensed milk and butter in a bowl and stir until creamy.
  • Scoop the mixture into greased molds or small bowls and serve on banana leaves with a topping of your choice.

Chicharon

Who doesn’t love crackling? Deep-fried to golden perfection, these crunchy pork rinds are an awesome cocktail appetizer. Sure, they take a while to prepare but the best things in life are worth waiting for, right?

  • 2 lbs pork rinds, cut into 2-inch pieces/lengths/strips
  • 1 ½ tablespoons whole peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cups cooking oil
  • Boil some water in a cooking pot, then add the pork rinds, peppercorns, salt, bay leaves and bring back to the boil.
  • Lower the heat, cover and cook for a further 45 minutes or so until tender.
  • Remove the pork rinds and refrigerate until cool.
    In a 200˚F oven, bake the pork rinds in a single layer on a wire rack for 3 to 4 hours, until dry and brittle.
  • Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan. When hot, deep fry the dried pork rinds in batches until golden brown.
  • Drain on a wire rack and season with salt to taste.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork rinds, cut into 2-inch pieces/lengths/strips
  • 1 ½ tablespoons whole peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cups cooking oil

How To Make

  • Boil some water in a cooking pot, then add the pork rinds, peppercorns, salt, bay leaves and bring back to the boil.
  • Lower the heat, cover and cook for a further 45 minutes or so until tender.
  • Remove the pork rinds and refrigerate until cool.
    In a 200˚F oven, bake the pork rinds in a single layer on a wire rack for 3 to 4 hours, until dry and brittle.
  • Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan. When hot, deep fry the dried pork rinds in batches until golden brown.
  • Drain on a wire rack and season with salt to taste.

Lumpiang Keso

Say ‘Keso’. These cheese-filled crispy spring rolls will put a smile on your and everyone else’s faces. Freezing the cheese first is a top tip as it stops these savory cocktail party appetizers from running away with themselves before they reach your plate.

  • 1 lb cheese of your choice
  • 12 spring roll/lumpia wrappers
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • Cut the cheese into long, thin strips, then pop these in the freezer for around 20 minutes.
  • Separate the wrappers into individual sheets, then lay each one out in the shape of a diamond 🔶.
  • Place your chilled cheese across the middle of each wrapper, then fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling to form a triangle.
  • Next, fold the sides of the wrapper inward and roll to form a log.
  • To seal, dab the remaining pointed edge with water. Tricky bit done!
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • When hot, fry the spring rolls in batches for 1 to 2 minutes, until wonderful and crisp.
  • Drain on a wire rack and serve with a dipping sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cheese of your choice
  • 12 spring roll/lumpia wrappers
  • 1 cup cooking oil

How To Make

  • Cut the cheese into long, thin strips, then pop these in the freezer for around 20 minutes.
  • Separate the wrappers into individual sheets, then lay each one out in the shape of a diamond 🔶.
  • Place your chilled cheese across the middle of each wrapper, then fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling to form a triangle.
  • Next, fold the sides of the wrapper inward and roll to form a log.
  • To seal, dab the remaining pointed edge with water. Tricky bit done!
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • When hot, fry the spring rolls in batches for 1 to 2 minutes, until wonderful and crisp.
  • Drain on a wire rack and serve with a dipping sauce.

Kutsinta

Looking for a healthier cocktail snack? Soft, chewy and deliciously different, these sticky brown rice cakes are a native Filipino cocktail appetizer. Minimum effort with maximum reward. What’s not to like!

  • 1 ½ cup rice flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lye water
  • 2 teaspoons anatto seeds, soaked in 3 tablespoons water
  • Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix together.
  • Gradually add water, continuing to mix until smooth.
  • Add the lye water, the anatto seeds with their water and continue mixing.
  • Scoop the mixture into greased molds and steam for around 40 minutes.
  • Allow to cool, then serve with grated coconut on top.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup rice flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lye water
  • 2 teaspoons anatto seeds, soaked in 3 tablespoons water

How To Make

  • Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix together.
  • Gradually add water, continuing to mix until smooth.
  • Add the lye water, the anatto seeds with their water and continue mixing.
  • Scoop the mixture into greased molds and steam for around 40 minutes.
  • Allow to cool, then serve with grated coconut on top.

Baked Tahong 

One for the “seafood and eat it” diet, baked tahong combines three of our favorite things – mussels, garlic and cheese. Guess what? The sum really is greater than the parts.

  • 2 lbs mussels, cleaned
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cheese, grated
  • Preheat your oven to 375˚F
  • Boil the mussels for around 10 minutes until the shells have opened (discarding any that don’t).
  • Meanwhile, mix the butter and garlic together in a small bowl.
  • When the mussels are ready, remove the extra shell and arrange the mussels on a baking tray.
  • Spoon a little of the butter and garlic mixture onto each mussel, then top with grated cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, then transfer to a serving plate.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs mussels, cleaned
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cheese, grated

How To Make

  • Preheat your oven to 375˚F
  • Boil the mussels for around 10 minutes until the shells have opened (discarding any that don’t).
  • Meanwhile, mix the butter and garlic together in a small bowl.
  • When the mussels are ready, remove the extra shell and arrange the mussels on a baking tray.
  • Spoon a little of the butter and garlic mixture onto each mussel, then top with grated cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, then transfer to a serving plate.

Ukoy

Pimp your next boozy bash with shrimp. Made with whole small shrimps, mixed with bean sprouts in batter, and fried until crispy, this shrimp cocktail appetizer is a street food favorite. We all live on a street, don’t we?

  • 1 cup small shrimps, cleaned
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups mung bean sprouts
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 raw egg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 2 cups cooking oil
  • Combine the flour, cornstarch, water, baking powder, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until smooth.
  • Add your shrimps and mung bean sprouts to the mixture and gently stir.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • When hot, scoop about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture at a time into the oil and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels, then serve hot, with spiced vinegar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup small shrimps, cleaned
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups mung bean sprouts
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 raw egg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 2 cups cooking oil

How To Make

  • Combine the flour, cornstarch, water, baking powder, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until smooth.
  • Add your shrimps and mung bean sprouts to the mixture and gently stir.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • When hot, scoop about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture at a time into the oil and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels, then serve hot, with spiced vinegar.

Kikiam

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • ½ lb shrimp, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, diluted in 2 tablespoons of water
  • 6 bean curd sheets
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • Combine the first nine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Separate the wonton wrappers into individual sheets, then lay each one out in the shape of a diamond 🔶.
  • Place a teaspoon of the meat mixture in the middle of each wrapper, then moisten the edges with water.
  • Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling to form a triangle, then gently press the edges together to seal.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  • When hot, fry your wontons in batches for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the filling is fully cooked and the wrapper turns golden and crisp.
  • Drain on a wire rack and serve hot, with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • ½ lb shrimp, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, diluted in 2 tablespoons of water
  • 6 bean curd sheets
  • 1 cup cooking oil

How To Make

  • Combine the first nine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Separate the wonton wrappers into individual sheets, then lay each one out in the shape of a diamond 🔶.
  • Place a teaspoon of the meat mixture in the middle of each wrapper, then moisten the edges with water.
  • Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling to form a triangle, then gently press the edges together to seal.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  • When hot, fry your wontons in batches for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the filling is fully cooked and the wrapper turns golden and crisp.
  • Drain on a wire rack and serve hot, with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Kwek-Kwek

Which Filipino cocktail appetizer is made from quail eggs, but sounds like a duck? Kwek-Kwek of course. Jokes aside, these deep-fried orange batter-covered quail eggs make a delish dish.

  • 12 to 18 boiled quail eggs, shell removed
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon anatto powder, diluted in warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooking oil
  • Roll the boiled quail eggs in the cornstarch and set aside.
  • Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the diluted anatto powder and mix well to form a batter.
  • Put the quail eggs in the batter and completely coat.
  • Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan. When hot, deep fry the quail eggs in batches until crispy.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve hot and crispy with vinegar dip.

Ingredients

  • 12 to 18 boiled quail eggs, shell removed
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon anatto powder, diluted in warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooking oil

How To Make

  • Roll the boiled quail eggs in the cornstarch and set aside.
  • Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the diluted anatto powder and mix well to form a batter.
  • Put the quail eggs in the batter and completely coat.
  • Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan. When hot, deep fry the quail eggs in batches until crispy.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve hot and crispy with vinegar dip.

Talong Bola Bola

The last on our list of easy cocktail appetizer recipes is a real crowd-pleaser. Made from a mixture of ground pork and eggplant, these munchable meatballs won’t break the bank either.

  • 2 Chinese eggplant
  • 6 oz ground pork
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ cups cooking oil
  • Boil some water in a cooking pot. Add the eggplant, cover and continue to boil for a further 6 minutes until tender, then remove from the pot.
  • Once cooled, remove the skin from the eggplant and chop it into small pieces.
  • Combine the eggplant with the pork, onion, egg, flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
  • Heat the oil in a cooking pot on low heat.
  • Roll a portion of the mixture in breadcrumbs, then deep fry for 8 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Drain on a wire rack and serve hot with a dipping sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 Chinese eggplant
  • 6 oz ground pork
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ cups cooking oil

How To Make

  • Boil some water in a cooking pot. Add the eggplant, cover and continue to boil for a further 6 minutes until tender, then remove from the pot.
  • Once cooled, remove the skin from the eggplant and chop it into small pieces.
  • Combine the eggplant with the pork, onion, egg, flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
  • Heat the oil in a cooking pot on low heat.
  • Roll a portion of the mixture in breadcrumbs, then deep fry for 8 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Drain on a wire rack and serve hot with a dipping sauce.