Ilocano Igado Recipe

Igado is a popular Ilocano dish made from strips of meat, liver, and other internal organs such as kidney, heart, and intestines. This dish reflects the influence of the Spanish cuisine as the name "Igado" was derived from the Spanish term "higado" which means "liver". A tell-tale story was once told that the Spaniards pronounced it as Higado but was understood by the natives in the region as Igado. Time passed and the name Igado was accepted as one of the popular Ilocano dishes

Although Igado originated during the Spanish era, there is still a touch of a Filipino flair. In analogy, while the natives like to cook the meat and innards of the pork, the Spaniards introduced the cooking technique of sautéing.

This dish would not be an Igado without liver as the majority of the ingredients. There are many ways to prepare Igado depending on the available ingredients at hand and what part of Ilocano region where you are. It can be prepared using the pork's meat and all four internal organs such as liver, heart, kidney, and intestines. You can also use the most common combination of liver and meat or it's up to you to choose your own combinations. As long as you are using liver as the majority of the ingredients, you are on the right tract of preparing Igado. Other variations include the dish as being oily, soupy, dry and meaty, salty-sour or sweet-sour-salty in taste. Also, someone might want to use the tenderloin of the pork while another wants to use the pork belly. Other ingredients that you can use includes green peas, bell pepper, finger chili (siling haba), bay leaf, potato, carrot, salt, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, onion, ginger, and garlic. No wonder why there is always a variation because it's impractical to combine all these ingredients into a single recipe.

Since you are dealing with liver in this recipe, it helps to cut the liver if is it is partially frozen. Another technique to make the liver tender is to cook it in medium-low fire. Too much heat will turn the liver into rubbery texture.

Igado Image

Igado Ingredients

  • 1 kilo combination of the following
  • *Pork’s liver; cut in strips (recommended)
  • *Pork's tenderloin; cut in strips (recommended)
  • *Pork’s kidney; cut in strips
  • *Pork’s heart; cut in strips
  • 4 cloves garlic; pounded
  • 1 medium onion; chopped
  • 1 segment ginger; cut in strips
  • 1 small can green peas (gisantes)
  • 1 small carrot; cut in strips
  • 1 bell pepper; cut in strips
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooking oil

Igado Cooking Instructions

  1. In a bowl, marinate liver in vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Saute garlic, ginger, and onion followed by the tenderloin.
  3. When meat starts to render fat, add the heart and kidney.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Saute for 15 minutes or until broth comes out from the innards (add 1/4 cup water if necessary to soften).
  6. Add the liver and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  7. Balance seasoning with soy sauce and vinegar, then continue cooking until sauce thickens.
  8. Add the carrots first and when tender, drop the bell pepper and peas.
  9. Cook until vegetables are done.

Cooking Tips

  • You can omit ginger if you don't use kidney in the recipe.
  • If you decide to use pork belly as one of the ingredients, it is recommended that you to remove the fat portion of it.