Top 12 Tipid Noche Buena Recipes
We all know how COVID had affected us financially, many of our us had reduced times at their workplace, some had hibernated places of work and at its worst, people lost their jobs, all of which affected their regular earnings. It is indeed tough times specially for our fellow Filipinos where jobs available in the Philippines is already scarce. But knowing Filipinos, even at its toughest times we still put a big smile on our face and even celebrate special occasions like this Christmas that is due in a weeks’ time. It is a fact that even we don’t have a budget for a celebration Filipinos make a way either by getting a small loan or run a small side job just to get that extra money. To help ease that pain and lower that budget, I had compiled 12 Tipid Noche Buena Recipes that you can serve when the clock strikes 12:00 on Christmas eve, recipes that you can still be proud of but costs a whole lot less of course.
Ham usually is the centrepiece of a Noche Buena, with its price that usually starts at PHP 500.00/kg a lot of Filipino families on a tight budget cannot afford this. Instead make your own one and there is nothing better than making this Hamon Bulakenya all you need is a pork belly where it costs less than half the price you can get that ham for, with added ingredients such as sugar, pineapple juice and beer, it won’t cost more than PHP350.00.
Filipino Sweet Macaroni Salad
Fruit Cocktails are expensive in the Philippines, specially at this time of the year, so instead of preparing Fruit salad, try making the Filipino Sweet Macaroni Salad. Macaroni is a good filler, so extend that Fruit Cocktail a bit further by using this ingredient, it will definitely feed more people compared to a several cans of fruit cocktail, all you need are few bits and pieces of kaong, nata de coco and pineapples.
Corned Beef Spaghetti
Every Filipino loves the sweet style spaghetti, but beef and pork prices sky rockets during the Holiday season, so instead of using fresh minced meat why not a small can of corned beef, it’s just not budget friendly, it is even a tastier alternative.
Lechon symbolises prosperity, there is nothing grander than serving a whole roasted pig on a dinner table but with budget constraints this can be challenging at these times. Instead of serving that most desired pig, why not resort to its chicken counterpart, and to make it even more affordable why not cook it your own over charcoal, it would be a good bonding activity for the family as you manually crank that muscle powered rotisserie with friends and family with drinks on the side.
No Christmas is complete without this on the table, this purple rice wonder can be made at home or even bought on the streets without denting too much from your budget. You just need a purple rice and a steamer.
The ultimate partner of puto bumbong, this rice cake is a great alternative to commercial roll cakes that will cost you around PHP 200. I know roll cakes is really addictive, specially that chocolate ones but Bibingka has this certain flair that roll cakes cannot replace.
Arroz ala Valenciana
If you need some carbs on your spread, then there’s nothing better than Arroz ala Valenciana, definitely way much cheaper to prepare than the Seafood Paella. Instead of seafood, Arroz ala Valenciana uses chicken which is much more affordable, just take note most recipes call for Chorizo which is expensive but you can replace that with the hotdog of your choice.
Another good dish to serve during this time is Embutido, usually made with minced pork but you can add extenders like saba/cardaba bananas which lessens the meat needed plus it gives it that nice flavour. My aunt used to do this a lot, and it is one of her secret ingredients in her Embutido.
Mussels are inexpensive back home, in fact when I was a child this was our usual protein of choice when we are on a tight budget. A seafood usually associated with the budget conscious but that doesn’t mean it cannot look fabulous at your Christmas spread, all you need it grill them with a bit of cheese and garlic on top and it will look like something you sell on a fine dining restaurant.
Lately this dessert jelly gained a lot of popularity, a simple dessert made with a panna cotta style jelly infused and topped with grated ube halaya. I know ube halaya can be expensive and very tedious to prepare but you only need a few in this dessert dish, majority of the ingredient is the jelly beneath it.
Another inexpensive dessert to serve plus it’s a crowd pleaser too, it’s easy to adjust the cost of this one just adjust the young coconut/buko and pandan jelly ratio, the more pandan jelly the cheaper it can get.
Finally, the most affordable desert here, using agar bars this dessert has been a main stay in Christmas dining table for ages. You can make lots of it and it will barely dent your budget, in fact this was served to us on a regular basis when me and my friends hang out in one of my mates place, imagine feeding at least 8 growing male teenagers, my mates mom serves a llanera for each of us, this thing definitely made us full and happy at the same time.
Hopefully this can help someone out there thinking of what Tipid Noche Buena Recipes to serve this time of the year and if you have other ideas, please feel free to share below, otherwise I am wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas!