Category Archives: Pork Recipes

Sisig

I grew up eating Filipino food and many of the dishes have created great life memories for me and Sisig is one that stands out.

The first time I had Sisig was when I visited the Philippines as an adult.  My friend and I thought it would be a great life experience to visit the Philippines on our way to Ireland.  We spent two weeks in Manila, the capital of Philippines with my uncle and cousins.  It was then that I was introduced to Sisig and the delicacies of Filipino bar food.

I remember the night well, we were taken to a night club but to me, it looked like a huge tin shed with a bar and a dance floor.  The place was mainly outdoors and to the back of the this tin shed was what seemed to be a make shift kitchen with guys dressed in casual clothing with a tea towel in hand waiting for an order.  We sat on a one of the huge wooden communal  tables and waited to be served.

I remember it being a balmy night.  I remember thinking how far we were from the civilized world of little ol’ Adelaide, thinking how very different this “night club” was to ours at home.  I remember ordering San Miguel beer and immediately thinking how awesome this beer was and how unlucky that we didn’t have it in Adelaide.  I also remember how my cousin’s friend ordered all the food that night with caution because he knew that most of it was so different to the food we usually eat in Australia and boy, I was amazed at how fast it all came out once he ordered and I remember the smell that filled the room once the food was placed on the table.

Filipino men like to drink beer with food readily available.  When these guys get on the sauce, it seems they anchor down and do a proper job at it.  Food must be served at these sessions.  Now, I don’t know if traditionally the women cook or if it is expected they cook, but when ever I have drinks with my Filipino male friends in Australia, food just miraculously appears, discretely served by their Filipino wives.  Sisig was one of those dishes or pork in general cooked in many different ways.  What ever meat it is, it’s usually crispy, salty and served with a dipping sauce that consists of chillies, vinegar and soy or a combination of all or some of those ingredients.  Smart really (for the men who drink at these bars and for the people who own the bar) salty, sour and crispy snacks are the best if you want drink alcohol, because the flavours almost induces more drinking.

Sisig is no different.  It is made mainly from pigs head, every bit of the head from the snout to the ears, cheeks and even the brains.  It also has pig livers and if you have the luxury version, people may add pork belly to it.  Simply put, the head is boiled for a long time then char grilled until almost black, picked and chopped into a small pieces.  Chopped, grilled livers are added to it and then finished by binding it together with the pigs brain and dressed with a vinegar and soy based dressing then served on a sizzling plate and finished with a raw egg on top and  calamansi, a type of citrus used in a lot of Filipino cooking.

Sounds interesting huh?  But let me just add, I served this little beauty to 240 guests at a gala dinner not so long ago and a lot people commented positively on the dish, mind you, they didn’t know what they were eating!!  But that’s not the point, they enjoyed it because it is a tasty meal.  Crispy pork bits bound with gooey egg, cut through with the freshness of the calamansi juice.  Salty, sour, hot and tangy at the same time, perfect beer snack.  As one of the ladies at the function mentioned, it is a type of “Filipino Dude Food”, and you know what, I like that because as she mentioned that, I thought back to the first time I had sisig and that description fit perfectly well.

This is a a bit of a process but well worth the effort.  Be the first to discover this flavour, it is unique and enjoyable.  This type of food will take off, I know it.  Even though it’s classified as offal, the flavours are just too good and Aussies love a “good thing” especially if it goes well with beer. Every time I have made Sisig and served to “unsuspecting” diners, they have always come back with positive reviews.  This will be the next wave of “dude food” in Australia.

I have blogged this before, look into “Cooking Lessons” for step by step tips on this recipe.  That’s how much I love this dish, I just had to re-blog it!

Sisig – served on a hot plate with calamansi & raw egg

Sisig

1 Whole Pigs Head

1 Pigs Brain – vacuumed sealed or sealed in sandwich zip lock bag

2 Onions – finely diced

1kg Pork Livers or Chicken Livers – cleaned and de-veined

8-10 Birds Eye Chilli – sliced

2 Cups Cane Vinegar

½ Cup Soy

3tblspn Sugar

2 Bay Leaves

4 Spring Onion Stems – finely sliced

1 Whole Egg

Salt

Black Pepper

Method

  1. Boil the pigs head, the meat off of the head in water, black pepper and bay leaves until tender, approximately 1 hour
  2. Boil the livers in water for about 20 minutes along with the brains.  Strain, then set aside to cool
  3. Make the sauce by mixing the chilli, 1tablspoon f the chopped onion, vinegar and soy and seasoning with salt and black pepper, balancing with the sugar
  4. Once the meat is tender strain the meat until dry then BBQ or grill it along with the pigs head and livers. Grill them until the livers are evenly browned and the pig meat crackles on the skin side and browns lightly on the meat side.  Smokey flavour is the key with out burning
  5. Allow the mat to cool slightly so you can handle it, and pick the meat off the bone.  Leave the eye
  6. Finely chop the meat into small bits, leaving small chunks
  7. Place the chopped meat into a bowl ad add the remaining onions and mix through with your hands
  8. Do the same with the remaining chillies
  9. Add the sauce and mix through thoroughly

10. Add the brain by crumbling it into the mixture, breaking it into small pieces

11. Heat up a heavy based pan until it smokes slightly then add the pork meat mixture

12. Cook until starts to brown, stirring continuously.  Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan every time it starts to stick, this is the flavour of the sisig

13. Once crispy, heat up a Chinese hot plate until smoking hot and add the sisig to the plate

14. Crack one egg on top and sprinkle with chopped spring onions


Tomato & Pork Neck Chop with Olives, Capsicum & Speck served with White Polenta

Photo by Jun Pang

Nothing fancy here but it’s open for fancy stuff.  Chuck some smoked paprika into the braise to add little more flavour or saute some chorizo sausage in before you add the liquids, it lifts the dish to another level.  The polenta can also be added to like a little truffle oil at the end or saute mixed mushrooms in butter and fold it through just before serving and finish it off with a poached egg – bloody beautiful!

Most people ask me for quick recipes; simple but tasty.  They would rather know how to poach an egg than get too complicated with cooking.  The easier the better for most people.  No one has time these days and most would rather eat a meal that’s home cooked.  Simple dishes like these are often the best solution.

Tomato & Pork Neck Chop with Olives, Capsicum & Speck served with White Polenta

Serve 4

For the pork

4 Pork Neck Chops

200 gr Speck (or bacon) – sliced into thin strips

1 Onion – finely diced

6 Cloves Garlic – squashed with a back of a knife

2 Carrots – 2cm dice

1 Capsicum – deseeded and sliced 1cm thick strips

1 cup Kalamatta Olives

2 x 410gr tins of Tomatoes

500ml Chicken Stock

1 Fresh Bay Leaf

5 sprigs fresh Thyme

Sea Salt

Ground Black Pepper

Olive Oil

 

For the Polenta

1 Onion – finely Diced

½  Cup White Polenta

3 Cups Milk

100gr Butter

200 gr Parmesan Cheese

1 bunch Parsley – finely Chopped

Method

For the Pork

  1. Put the oven on at 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Heat up an oven proof pot on high heat until the pan is almost at smoking point.
  3. Season the pork with salt and pepper.  Add a little oil and brown the pork in the hot pan on both sides then set aside.
  4. Add the speck to same pan and cook until slightly brown to flavour the pot
  5. Sauté the onions, garlic, carrots, capsicum and olives until soft until onions are soft
  6. Pour in the tomatoes and cook until it starts to break down or for about 8 minutes on medium high heat.
  7. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil then allow it to simmer for ten minutes
  8. Place thyme and bay leaf in the pot along with the browned pork.
  9. Cover and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes
  10. Check seasoning and serve.

For the Polenta.

  1. Heat a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add the butter and sauté the onions until soft.
  2. Pour the milk into the pot and bring to a simmer
  3. Slowly stream the polenta into the pot whilst whisking with the other hand, avoiding the lumps
  4. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir continuously for about ten minutes.  Add hot water from the kettle if consistency is too stiff.
  5. When the polenta is soft and creamy, grate the parmesan into the pot off the heat
  6. Just before serving, stir the chopped parsley through

Photo by Jun Pang


Braised Pork Belly

Braised Pork with Udon Noodles & Spring onion & Black Vinegar Dressing

Serve6

What is it about braised pork?  I love it but I guess it is because I grew up with it.  In Filipino cooking, braised pork is a norm, like in adobo or sinigang, a dish cooked in tangy clear broth seasoned with tamarind juice, a dish so clean in flavours, light and not too “porky”.  Seriously, you can braise pork and drink the juice!?!?  Think about it, you wouldn’t drink the juice off a roast pork now would you?

I have cooked braised pork many times but every time I cook pork using this method, I always get people saying how much they dislike the texture.  It always confuses me.  The meat is so soft and tender, with that layer wonderful gelatinous skin.  It tastes cleaner, the texture is more tender, juicier and tastes less greasier than roasting or frying. To me it’s like a protein “blank canvass” with all the goodness of meat ready to be dressed with what ever flavour you want it to be.

For all of you who think braised pork is not for you, please try this, at least just once, you’ll get what I mean.  You won’t lose out, if you don’t like it, you can still have the noodles with “fried” pig bits so you can still have the pork grease fix.  Leave out the braised pork belly and you sill have a wonderful salad.

Photo by Jun Pang

For the Pork:

1tblspn White Vinegar

1bunch Spring Onion                            washed

200gr Ginger                                       peeled, sliced in smaller bits

300ml Chinese Cooking Wine

2litres Water

1.5kg Pork Belly

For the Sauce:

1/4cup Peanut Oil

4tblspn Garlic                                      finely chopped

1 Bunch Spring Onion                          finely sliced

4tblspn Pun Chun Vinegar Sauce           Pun Chun is the brand

5tblspn Pun Chun Black Vinegar            Pun Chun is the brand

3tblspn Chilli Oil

6tblspn Light Soy                                 Kikkoman

For the Salad:

2tblspn Peanut Oil

300gr Pork Mince

4tblspn Vinegar Sauce

4tblspn Light Soy                                 Kikkoman

1x500gr pkt Udon Noodles

1bunch Chinese Spinach                       roots cut off

Method

For the Pork:

  1. Place the white vinegar, spring onion, ginger, Chinese cooking wine and water in large pot and bring to boil then simmer for 20 minutes
  2. Add the pork belly and braise for 1.5-2 hours on low heat or until it is soft and tender
  3. Once tender, turn the heat off and allow to cool in the stock, this way it won’t dry out as it cools
  4. Once cool enough to handle, portion into desired serve sizes.  As the picture suggest, cut a cube and then slice it into smaller peices

For the Sauce:

  1. Place a small sauce pan on medium heat and add the peanut oil and garlic then cook, stirring continuously until golden brown, about 15 miutes
  2. Off the heat, add the spring onion and stir continuously until it is slightly cooled down
  3. Add the vinegar sauce, black vinegar, chili and light soy in the pan, taste for balance and seasoning

For the Salad:

  1. Heat up a large heavy based pan on high heat until almost smoking hot
  2. Add the peanut oil and heat for 30 seconds then seal the pork mince until brown
  3. Off the heat, add vinegar sauce and light soy, stir through
  4. Blanch the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes then place in a bowl with the spinach
  5. Add the mince into the bowl and stir through the noodles and spinach then divide equally into 6 plate
  6. Slice the pork and divide into 6 serves, placing a serve on each plat of noodles.
  7. Sauce the pork on top and serve

Photo by Jun Pang

Black Vinegar – Inky black vinegar made from rice, wheat and millet and it is usually used in Chinese stir fries, sauces and braises.  It has a slight malt flavour similar to balsamic but a lot lighter in vinegar tones


A recipe for my nephew Aidan!!

Prawn and Pork Wanton Soup with Egg Noodles and Bok Choy

Serves 4

For the Wantons:

200 grm Pork Mince

100 grm Prawns                                            Chopped into small pieces

1 Stem of Spring Onion                                  Finely Sliced

1 tblspn Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine

2 tblspn Light Soy

Ground White Pepper                                       Pinch

Wanton Skins

For the Soup:

1 ltr Chicken Stock

1 tspn White Pepper Corns

100 gr Ginger                                                   Sliced into thin discs

1/2 Bunch Spring Onions

1/2 cup Light Soy

1/2 cup Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine

1 x 500gr Fresh Egg Noodles

2 Bunches Bok Choy                                         Washed and quartered

Sea Salt                                                           Season to taste

Method

For the wonton

  1. “work” the pork mince a little by kneading it in bowl for about 5 minutes to give the final product a smoother texture.
  2. Add prawns and mix through thoroughly.
  3. Add the spring onions and mix through thoroughly
  4. Add the light soy and Chinese Cooking Wine and light soy and mix through thoroughly.  Add the white pepper and test the seasoning by frying off a little of the mix.  Adjust seasoning if needed.
  5. Place a teaspoon of mix in the middle of the wanton skin then moisten the edges with a little water.
  6. Bring the corners to the middle, making sure you pinch the edges to seal together.  Set aside ready for the broth

For the broth

  1. Place the chicken stock, white pepper corns,  ginger and spring onions into a pot and simmer for 30 minutes then strain.
  2. Just before serving add the Chinese cooking wine and light soy to season the broth.  Add sea salt if needed.
  3. Blanch Noodles in hot water until soft and same again with bok choy, drain and serve into a noodle bowl.
  4. Blanch the wantons in also in hot water for about 2 minutes then place into the noodle bowl.
  5. Pour broth to cover

Photo by Jun Pang


Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw

Serves 4

2kg Pork Neck

2 Cups Brown Sugar

1 litre Lemonade

2 Cups Light Soy

2 ½ Cups Tomato Ketchup

6 Cloves Garlic                                   finely chopped

¼ Red Cabbage                                 core removed, finely sliced

¼ White Cabbage                             core removed, finely sliced

¼ Cup Mayonnaise

4 Large Kaiser Rolls

Method

1.     Place the brown sugar, lemonade, light soy, ketchup and garlic in large pot.  Bring to boil then simmer for 20 minutes

2.     Place the pork neck into the pot and cook on slow simmer for about 3 and a half hours or until the meat starts to fall apart

3.     Leave the pork to cool down in the stock.

4.     When it is cool enough to handle, pull the pork apart into fine strands

5.     Mix the cabbage into the mayonnaise

6.     Heat the strands of pork with a little of the pork liquid for moisture and additional flavour

7.     Once the pork is hot, place it into the buns, finishing off with coleslaw on top

8.     Serve with chips and some of the liquid on the side

I learnt this from a good friend of mine, Sean Cartwright who was taught by a  Filipino lady who used to work with us when I was an apprentice.  You can also use this recipe to poach pork chops or ribs then chuck it on the Webber for an extra Smokey finish.  Try Sarsaparilla instead of lemonade for extra spicy tones.

Photo by Jun Pang


Easy Pork Ribs

Chilli Pork Ribs

Serves 6

2kg Young Pork Ribs                          cut into individual ribs

½ Cup Light Soy

6 litres of Water

¼ Cup Vegetable Oil

2 large Red Chillies                             deseeded and cut into small strips, across the width

2 Garlic Cloves                                   finely chopped

1 Thumb of Ginger                             finely grated

5 Spring Onion                                    finely sliced

2 tblspn Ketcup Manis

Sea Salt                                                for seasoning

Cracked White Pepper                        for seasoning

Method

  1. Place the water and light soy in a large pot.  There should be enough room in the pot to add ribs through.  Bring that water to boil then simmer for about 10 minutes to make a stock
  2. Add the pork to the stock and continue to simmer for a further 120 minutes or until the meat starts to fall off the bone
  3. Strain the pork ribs well.  Place on paper towel and pat dry.
  4. Put a wok or heavy based frying pan on high heat and allow to heat up for 45 seconds
  5. Add oil and heat the oil for 30 seconds
  6. Gently add the dried pork ribs and brown slightly in the wok, truing it often to brown evenly
  7. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and spring onion into the wok and toss through, making sure it is evenly distributed.  Stir fry for about 1 minute
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  9. Toss the ketcup manis through, evenly coating the surface of the ribs
  10. Serve with light soy or cherry vinegar

Gotta love easy recipes.  This one is dead easy and I bet you that all your mates would love you for it, especially if are eating them with an iced cold beverage in the other hand.  Easy to cook, easy to eat and cheap!

Photo by Jun Pang