Following the lively discussion that ensued after the “iyasi” post in the Facebook page of this blog where “pulutan” or the Philippines’ answer to Spanish “tapa” or the “bocas” of Central America or the “anju” of Korea, has caused some stirs, I decided to prepare another popular “pulutan” cum viand entrée made from the reliable chicken liver and gizzard called “atay at balunbalunan ng manok” in the Philippines. I’m pretty much sure that you already have an idea what the dish is going to be. Yes, it’s the widely-prepared “adobong atay at balunbalunan”.
The dish is probably the most common Filipino way of cooking the versatile chicken liver and gizzard even beating barbecue. It is quite easy and really simple but extremely tasty. The combined flavors of liver, gizzard and heart (that usually goes with the liver) and their contrasting but complementary textures make the dish exciting. With liver alone it will probably be too overwhelming. With gizzard alone it will be plain and boring. But with the combination of the two, or three with the heart, a distinctly delicious dish with the right amount of flavors and a pronounced appeal is achieved.
In cooking the dish, I joined our group’s “adobo king” himself, my wedding grandson (“inaanak”) Dong of the famed “Pork Adobo a la Dong” post here. Basically following the same procedure in his pork adobo recipe, I helped him cook and document our version of “adobong atay at balunbalunan”. Like “sisig pampanga”, “bopiz”, and “imbaligtad”, this adobo dish is highly regarded as “pulutan” and at the same time widely accepted as “ulam” or viand in a regular Filipino meal. The whole family loves it which goes well with either plain steamed rice or the tastier fried rice.
Since the dish involves gizzard which is the section which houses the most undesirable waste of chicken, proper cleaning it is among the most important stage of the preparation. The best way to ensure a fragrant gizzard is by meticulously cleaning it with rock salt, washing with vinegar, or by scraping it with the back of a knife to remove all traces of its natural dweller. Washing it several times and then properly draining is also necessary. :-)
To cook the dish, the basic ingredients needed are: ½ kilogram chicken gizzard, properly cleaned as mentioned above and then cut to bite sizes, and ½ kilogram of chicken liver with heart attached, washed and cut to small sizes as well. The hearts are cut open to remove the clotted blood inside its chambers by washing under running water.
The few other ingredients needed are: 1 head garlic, peeled and minced, 1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped, ½ tsp whole peppercorn, ½ tsp freshly ground pepper, 1½ tbsp white sugar, ½ tsp iodized salt, about ¾ cup natural vinegar (please adjust accordingly, depending on the acidity), about 1/3 cup soy sauce. Additionally, about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil for sautéing and about 2 cups broth or hot water for simmering are required.
In a large heavy pan or wok, heat the oil and fry garlic until it is slightly browned. Add in onions and cook until it is translucent. Add in the soy sauce and sauté until it boils. Put all the thoroughly drained meat and mix the ingredients.
Let the meat renders its own juice and fat. Give it a gentle stir and simmer on moderate heat until the liquid is reduced and meat starts to sizzle in its own fat and aromatic.
Add in whole peppercorn, ground pepper, white sugar and vinegar. Do not stir until it is briskly boiling. Continue cooking. Add enough broth to cover and continue simmering on low heat. Adjust the seasoning and level of vinegar. Add additional broth or hot water as necessary.
Continue simmering until the sauce is reduced, has thickened and meat is fork tender.
Transfer in serving platters. Serve warm to your friends over a bottle of your favourite wine or to your family with lots of steamed rice and probably some buttered veggies. :-)
There it is……..another addition to our long list of “adobo” dishes. Try it and enjoy with family and friends! Our friends in London will probably love this with JD. :-)
Eating this “adobong atay at balunbalunan” while drinking a bottle of ice cold beer is something very relaxing. It is only a statement though…… not an advice…….no! …….. believe me. c“,)