Challah Pinoy.

The Filipino Diaspora is quite an interesting concept, like any other diaspora (the scattering of people from their geographic place of origin, either through migration or force) in America. Looking at the larger Filipino-American Community- we tend to unite behind a common heritage, or in the event a Filipina wins the Miss Universe Pageant while representing the Philippines. (Maybe one day a Filipina-American will win Miss Universe while representing the United States.) That shared pan-Filipino bond is a uniting force- despite the differences that people may inherit. And by inherited differences I mean to say linguistic, geographic and religious. Case in point: my husband’s family hails from the island of Panay- home to a very popular vacation destination. The language is different that from my family’s heritage- which is Quezon City and even further Marikina (the shoe capital?) and Pampanga (THE CULINARY CAPITAL?).

My husband is a New Yorker now- but his upbringing and Filipino-American identity is strongly California influenced, which makes sense because that’s where he was born and lived for the first couple of decades of his life. I’m a Brooklyn born, Filipino-Hawaiian-Spanish New Yorker with a much different Filipino American experience. And we see it in the language and vernacular and styles of cultural communication. Here’s the easiest way to get to my point: below are three sentences and you’ll see the difference.

  • Standard American English: “It’s very cold outside.”
  • California (Bay Area) English: “It’s hella cold.”
  • New York City English: “It’s mad brick, yo.”

(These will make sense later, in a way that at least *I* find witty.)

I wanted to combine a Filipino taste with a Jewish Culinary institution.  And to do that properly, I had to weigh the options. Bagels weren’t going to cut it because sweet bagels aren’t permitted to exist- with an occasional visit from Cinnamon Raisin bagels. Knishes would be off because an Adobo Knish would be weird. Matzoh Ball sinigang doesn’t sound kosher.

Why combine a Filipino taste with a Jewish (and more specifically, Eastern European Jewish) dish? Well, because there’s a very soothing feeling whenever I eat a Jewish dish. Jewish cuisine is one of my five flavors of New York City (more on that another time), and I  just wanted to be experimental and inventive.

So enter: Challah Pinoy (bread).

This challah bread is hella Pinoy! Because we got a Filipino taste up in this…loaf!

Wait, what? You don’t know Challah Bread?

That’s a photo of a Challah bread I made sometime back. I used the recipe from Allrecipes.Com which I modified for 10 servings.

I used to bake Challah bread often, when I lived in Hawaii for some reason, and it was so easy…. maybe because I had access to a KitchenAid (TM) mixer with a dough hook that made it easier for me.

Anyway, what I’m about to do is make this Challah Bread HELLA Pinoy by adding Ube jam into the braids!

(Note: I’m testing this out for the first time, please be merciful with your feedback.)

So you got your basic Challah Recipe. (courtesy of

And you need a jar of Ube Halaya Spread. Because I haven’t had time to figure out where to get fresh Ube in New York City to make my own. Also, I had this in the cupboard from a trip to the Filipino store, so might as well use it.

After the first round of rising, divide the dough into thirds. (You can then divide the thirds in half, if you want to do a six-braid loaf, but I’m going go with a three braid.

Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape, and divide into thirds. Spread the Ube Jam down the center of two strands, leaving room on the sides and ends, so they can close up without oozing Ube out.

Once two of the three strands are Ube-filled, proceed to braid. (Or 4/6 strands, however you’re making this bread.)

Allow the bread to rise again for about 1/2 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Once the loaf has risen for a second time, brush a beaten egg wash on top to achieve a nice crust.

Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before trying.

*20 minutes later*


So what do you think?

This bread is Challah Pinoy. (Last time I use that pun I promise.)
Check the video here:

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