When most of us think of good food, one that is comforting and truly satisfying, one that we have enjoyed over a long period of time and became part of our system and one that is perpetually inculcated somewhere within the small patches of our brain, we remember our mothers or grandmothers. No, not mothers in-law, I’m speaking of tasty food in general, not just bitter gourd or “amplaya”, nor palm vinegar or “sukang paombong” nor green mangoes without “bagoong”. Okay, okay I’m just kidding with that second sentence. I love my mother in-law. :-) But seriously, mothers and grandmothers are the ones responsible for the memory of the foods we loved growing-up with. And they too, always remind us of such wonderful table fares they can create.
While there are some exceptional mommies and grannies out there who prepare “suffer” rather than dinner, they are, in a larger context, our heroes or heroines when it comes to delicious everyday food……most probably the ones that sustained our growth. My mom in particular, has her really tasty “pansit bihon” or Filipino rice noodles in soy sauce as well as her luscious “nilaga or linaga” or pork stew with vegetables, which my daughter love so much, to mention just a few. I remember my granny or “lola” preparing the best ginger tea or “salabat” with purple yam or “ube” during the cool season of Christmas. I haven't had that for quite a long time. Everyone has such a recollection.
A colleague for one, has a mother who knows how to prepare dishes that one can really be proud of. On several times, we were lucky to have sampled her “igado” or a Filipino dish composed of chopped pork, liver and heart braised in vinegar and we have been always ecstatic to have it again. The mother whom everyone calls Nanay Elou or Nanay Consuelo is so kind to share her secret formula in cooking her yummy “igado” for all the people who are fortunate to have stumbled upon this blog. If you are one of them, enjoy this rare opportunity.:-)
“Igado” is a regional recipe of the Northen Philippines particularly in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, where Nanay Consuelo came from, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Vigan. It is a dish made from pork, usually tenderloin or pork shoulder or “kasim”, and pork innards such as liver, heart and even kidney. This is among the well-known and widely accepted “Ilokano” dish that has found its way into the other areas of Luzon including the Manila capital of the Philippines.
To cook the dish we need the following meat ingredients: about 1 1/4 kilograms (less than 3 lbs) of pork shoulder or “kasim”, 350 grams liver, divided and 1-2 pcs pork heart, about 350 grams as well. Thoroughly washed and drained until all blood traces have been removed.
The other ingredients needed are: 5 gloves garlic, to be peeled and crushed, 3 medium onions, to be peeled and minced, 3/4 cup soy sauce, ¼ cup natural vinegar, divided, 3 pcs bay leaves, 2 tsp iodized salt, 1 tsp ground pepper, a pinch of sugar and about 3 tbsp vegetable oil.
Additionally, we need 1 can of cooked dry peas or garbanzos, drained.
Slice the meat into small sizes as shown. Starting with the heart and followed with half of the liver. Set aside.
Do the same for the pork meat. Reserve some of the fat layers of the meat. In a mixing bowl dumped the pork and add in soy sauce, small amount of vinegar and onions. Mix properly to combine the ingredients. Take the remaining liver and chopped finely until it is almost pounded. Alternately you can grind it. Add in the mashed liver into the meat with the marinade. Stir to properly combine. Continue marinating for at least an hour.
To prepare for the cooking process, arrange all the meat ingredients side by side close to the burner.
In a heavy frying pan or wok, heat the oil and fry the reserved fat layers. Fry until it renders its oil and slightly browned. Add in garlic and continue frying. Add the meat starting with the heart. Continue frying until the heart pieces are slightly browned as well.
Add in marinated pork into the pan. Add in bay leaves, salt and ground pepper and continue cooking until the meat renders its liquid. Add the remaining vinegar, a pinch of sugar and chopped liver and continue simmering on low heat until meat is fork tender. Add some water if the liquid is drying up. Taste and adjust the seasonings and level of vinegar based on your preference. Add in cooked peas and simmer for several minutes more.
When sauce is reduced and oil has rendered, it’s done. The fragrance should be filling your whole kitchen by now. Transfer in medium plates and serve with lots of steamed rice. Yum yum! :-)
There it is, “Igado” ni Nanay Consuelo……fragrant and delicious. This dish also goes well as an appetizer or “pulutan” in a typical Filipino all-male gathering. It can be eaten with crusty bread as well during “merienda” or snack. It’s distinctly yummy! Enjoy!
While the dish has long been planted in the memory of Nanay Consuelo’s children and friends, it is now starting to grow on the young minds of her pretty grand children. After all, they are the ones now that are given priority servings to fully enjoy the dish…………for them to also develop early on………….the good memory and tradition of a really wonderful food. c“,)
Iya says "One more serving Nanay".