DFJ and I went to New Jersey to visit my aunt a few weekends ago. She spoiled us with lots of delicious Filipino food, which rekindled my hunger for foods that remind me of home.
Upon our return, I made mung bean stew which turned out really wonderful and reminded me of my mom’s recipe. Unfortunately, since it was a test run and made from intuition, the process was not recorded. Someday soon, I hope to make it again. Since our visit, I have made DFJ’s favorite, ground beef with go chu jang (Korean red pepper paste), a soba noodle dish with stir fried veggies, and lots of rice.
Today, I will share a recipe that is reminiscent of lechon paksiw (a vinegar stew of leftover roasted pig). Lechon Paksiw is one of my favorite Filipino foods. Whenever Filipinos have big parties or celebrate important events, lechon or roasted pig is often the main star. The best part about having a lechon at a party is the leftover that is turned into a paksiw (anything cooked for a long time with vinegar). Although this recipe is not quite a paksiw, it certainly reminds me of it.
First of all this dish has a sort-of-sweet, hunger-inducing aroma. The sauce, which has a good dose of tamari and fish sauce, is perfectly salted. It is also infused with the cool spiciness of ginger that hits you in the most pleasantly surprising way. The black pepper makes it slightly spicy, just enough to make you feel a little tingle in the back of your throat. The pork is well-flavored with all the elements that it was cooking in and is amazingly soft and tender.
I recommend making some rice to go along with this dish and then spooning a bit (or a lot) of the sauce over your rice. When you do so, it gives your whole meal a lot of authenticity. Us, Filipinos, like to pour soup and sauces over rice, even the sauces that are shiny with pork fat bubbles (like this one). But that’s what makes it so damn good! When we were in New Jersey, my cousin mentioned that he likes food that has soul in it. And to me, this one does… it tastes like a dish you long for when you are far, far away and homesick for your mom and her cooking. When I savored bite after bite of this during dinner last night, I felt like I have gone back to my childhood home where delicious smells of food always wafted from the kitchen, morning, noon, or night.
Braised Black Pepper Pork (Makes 4 servings)
Adapted from: The Food and Cooking of Malaysia and Singapore, Indonesia and The Philippines by Ghille Basan, Terry Tan, and Vilma Laus
4 cups water
2 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
½ teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
2 leeks, sliced in thin rounds (remove unedible parts)
1.25 oz ginger, peeled and sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1.25 lbs pork chops, chopped into cubes, bones included (2 pork chops)
Combine the water, tamari, fish sauce, salt, bay leaves, and leeks in a medium size cooking pot. Turn the heat on to medium and bring to a boil.
When this flavored mixture boils, add in the ginger, garlic, black pepper, sugar, and pork chops. Stir well to move the ingredients around in the pot. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover the pot. Cook for an hour, stirring occasionally. When it starts to boil, just open the lid a bit and continue to cook. After one hour, remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally.
This is so good served with rice and some stir-fried veggies. So, while this is cooking, make some rice, then prep, and stir-fry your veggies.
If you need recipes for stir-fried veggies, feel free to browse around here. I have tons!
Hope you will love this dish as much as we did!