How to Cook Philippine Pork Igado Dish
In the Philippines, one of the most popular of all local dishes is igado. In the Ilocos provinces, this is a saucy, pork meat and liver specialty that every visitor should try at least once. Here is how to cook igado.
All over the Philippines, especially in the island of Luzon, variations of the igado dish exist. It is sweet, sour, and bitter all at the same time. Depending on the preference of the cook, one of these tastes can be emphasized over the others such that one igado dish may be more bitter, sweet, or sour than another one prepared by a different cook. The dish is primarily pork, but in some areas, the marinating process, or the cut of the meat ingredients may differ. Also, only one type of vegetable is generally used. In the Bicol region, it is the long, green chili (the local siling haba used in sinigang). In provinces like La Union, other garnishes, such as bell pepper and tomato are used.
There are variations of igado that include ingredients like fried potatoes, carrots, and green peas. Some have little but thick sauce which gives a dry texture to the dish. Others are prepared like a soupy dish, which should be ideal for places where the weather is cold. But it is also perfect where it’s hot and dry because the ingredients act as natural preservatives such that the dish will stay viable even when it’s left on the dinner table overnight.
The origin of Igado is lost in history, but the name is likely from the Spanish word for “liver” which is higado. Thus the name igado may have become popular in the Spanish era in the history of the Philippine islands, although it is likely that the dish has been cooked even in prehispanic times. Today, igado is a dish requested in restaurants all over the Philippines, although it is not a dish of choice in many eateries. Still, it is a feast for those who love liver dishes.
· 1/2 kilo pork meat (slice into long thin strips)
· 1/4 kilo pork liver (slice into long thin strips)
· 5 cloves of garlic; minced
· 1 onion; chopped
· Salt and pepper; to taste
· 2 tbsp sugar
· 4 tbsp vinegar
· Soy sauce for the marinade
· 3pcs long green chili pepper
1. Marinade the pork in salt and soy sauce mixture for 15 minutes
2. Sauté garlic and onion in a pan, then, add the marinated pork meat. DO NOT add the marinade juice.
3. When the cooking pork meat is already tender, add the liver
4. Add 1 cup of water to the mixture and follow up with the vinegar and sugar
5. Season with salt and pepper
6. When the liver is cooked, add the chilies whole
7. Simmer for about 5 minutes
This igado dish can be cooked in about 15 minutes. It is perfect for two to three people. It is best served hot and with freshly cooked rice. It may be served with complimenting ice cold lemon juice. This igado recipe is popular in Northern places like Bulacan and Olongapo, but it is also popular in Southern Luzon, in Bicol, where the long green chili is often used as garnish.
NOTE: the liver dish in the photo is not representative of igado. It only appears similar to igado.