Monday, October 3, 2011
Tocino A La Lalaine (Filipino Cured Pork)
For this post, our friend Lalaine will be sharing a unique recipe for pork “tocino”, a top favorite of most children including mine. While generally, “tocino” is prepared by marinating or curing thin slices of pork in salt, sugar, Anise wine, annatto, garlic and saltpeter, Lalaine’s version is with the use of pineapple juice and totally without saltpeter or “salitre” (in the local language). While I understand that saltpeter is a standard additive in most commercial preparation intended to extend the shelf life of the processed meat, I think homemade versions such as Lalaine’s should consider deleting it …… and I am happy she did.
The reason is that saltpeter is actually potassium nitrate, a chemical use in the manufacture of gunpowder and explosive devices as well as fertilizers. Therefore, the fireworks and rockets we light during New Year’s celebration have saltpeter in them and I don’t think you like the additive to be in your food as well. :-)
“Tocino” is traditionally simmered in a small amount of water until the liquid evaporates and the meat is then slightly fry with the rendered fat and some oil. Alternately, you can directly fry it in oil though this method will usually result to somewhat burnt appearance. Another way of cooking, although not very popular, is by grilling it over live charcoal where the resulting dish will taste like pork barbeque with a unique hint of cured meat.
To prepare, we need about 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs) thinly sliced pork. The shoulder cut called “kasim” is my preferred meat although round (or leg chop) or “pigue” will also work well. I don’t bother having some fatback in the meat. It will make for a much flavorful dish. However, you are at liberty to take them out and cook separately as “rebosado” and just use the lean meat for “tocino”. :)