Today, I made pork adobo and pork binagoongan. And I ate TONS of rice in the process! My ultimate food cravings for this third pregnancy have been Filipino food. It was the same with my first pregnancy. Perhaps I’m just missing all the good food I used to eat growing up in the Philippines.
Last month, my husband went to Toronto for a few days for a business trip. The girls and I would have went with him, but I had my craft show around the same time, so we stayed behind. On his way home, he stopped by at our go-to Asian supermarket. He has shopped at Asian grocery stores with me countless times already so he can get me the ingredients for my favourite Filipino dish without a grocery list. And the list is long! So that is actually pretty impressive!
In the small town where we live, the only main grocery stores are Walmart, Independent, and Giant Tiger. The trip to the city is about 2- 2/12 hrs drive. Having said that, we don’t have easy access to all the ingredients I need to make different Filipino dishes that require ingredients outside carrots, peppers, potatoes, and celery. (At least Independent has now been carrying some okra and tamarind from time to time. And I’ve seen bokchoy at Walmart pretty consistently, which is a good thing).
These past few weeks since he got back from his trip, I have made several Filipino dishes. One, because I crave them! And two, because I have what I need to make them. This dish I will be sharing with you is something I have been craving for a while. I actually made it 2 weeks ago, and I made them again today!
For my readers who are not familiar with Filipino food, binagoongan is an authentic Filipino dish made with diced pork cooked in bagoong or shrimp paste. The shrimp paste is something you can readily buy in a jar in any Asian supermarket. They come in Regular, Sweet or Spicy flavours. regardless of brand. We always buy the spicy one. But you can also make shrimp paste from scratch if you prefer to go that route. However, let me remind you that this process is very tedious.
Binagoongan is not only a good pair with steamed rice, it’s also a very good topping on unripe green Indian mangoes (if you cut your pork really small). There’s something amazing when you combine something sour with something salty. And I think that’s what I love about this dish. The combination of the vinegar and the shrimp paste is amazing. If you are not familiar with shrimp paste, I suggest you start your portion small. Taste for saltiness as you cook this dish, and gradually add more shrimp paste until the saltiness is tailored to your preference.
Let’s begin shall we?
EASY PORK BINAGOONGAN RECIPE
- approx. 1 1/2 – 2 lbs pork, cubed
- approx. 4 cups hot water (from the tap, no need to boil a kettle my friends!)
- 5 tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4-6 dried bay leaves, split in half
- 1 tsp. oil
- 1 med.-large size onion, diced
- 2 tbsp. minced garlic
- 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
- 3-4 tbsp. (more or less depending on your preference) shrimp paste
- (Optional) 1 tbsp. whole peppercorn
- (Optional) banana or jalapeno pepper, chopped for garnishing
- In a pot, add hot water, pork, vinegar, dried bay leaves, and salt. Let it boil. Then simmer for 40 mins in low-med heat until the pork is tender. Set aside.
- In a separate non-stick pan, heat oil. Then saute the onions until sweaty (never saute garlic before onion as garlic burns faster!). Add the minced garlic and saute until aromatic. Then add your tomatoes. Continue sauteing until the tomatoes start to soften.
- Gradually add the shrimp paste. Stir and taste. Adjust to your desired saltiness. (Remember you can always add more later. So it’s okay to start with less).
- Once the tomatoes are starting to get mushy, add the boiled pork and dried bay leaves into the pan (minus the water!) and saute until the meat is well coated. (You may add your whole peppercorn here. I skipped this part).
- When the pork is starting to brown or your sauce is starting to dry up, gradually add 1-2 cups of the pork broth you set aside.
- Let it simmer until sauce is in your desired thickness. Add more shrimp paste if you wish!
- Once cooked, remove from heat and garnish with chopped chili peppers.
- Serve hot on top of steamed white rice.
Disclaimer: I don’t normally use measuring spoons/cups when I cook. Unless I’m baking of course. Cooking is more of an art. So when I cook, I usually just eyeball things. The key is to taste your food while you cook, and adjust your spices as your taste buds dictate. What maybe sweet for me, may not be the case for you. Hence, the lack of measurements on my recipes. I will leave that up to you. All the necessary ingredients (and tips!) however will be provided.