Pork Menudo sounds like Spanish but it is, unequivocally, a classic Filipino dish. In the long tradition of Philippine cuisine, Pork Menudo is one of the thick tomato sauce-based dishes that uses pork as its meat ingredient. Other classic Filipino dishes that are tomato sauce-based are Afritada which, by tradition, uses chicken as its meat ingredient; Mechado uses beef; and Kaldereta, originally, uses goat.
When talking about Philippine's Pork Menudo, it is important to also touch the Menudo dish of the Mexicans because the word "Menudo" is a little bit confusing if you live here in Los Angeles. Here in California, when you speak of Menudo as cuisine, what naturally comes to mind is the classic Mexican Menudo soup primarily made of beef tripe (cow's stomach) boiled with garlic, onion, and spices like red chili pepper. The classic Filipino-style of Menudo is a stewed pork and liver cubes in tomato sauce with potatoes, carrots, raisins, and seasonings. Variations include the addition of pineapple juice, kinchay, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), green peas, bell pepper, hotdogs, sugar, chorizo de bibao, liver spread, bay leaves, banana catsup, sweet pickle relish, atsuete oil, paprika, and other condiments.
Furthermore, Mexican Menudo is good as a cure for hangovers, while Philippine's Pork Menudo is served as a main meal in town fiestas and other special Filipino gatherings.
One one hand, Mexican Menudo originated during the pre-Mexican revolution during the early years of 19th century, when there is a wide disparity between the wealthy and the poor, and when the poor workers are exploited by the dictatorial ruling of Pofirio Diaz. In the history of Mexican Menudo, the best cuts of beef are taken by the wealthy hacienderos and the leftovers that comprises of organs, head, feet, and tails are given to the poor hacienda workers. However, by means of the culinary ingenuity of the poor, they were able to create a dish out of the leftover beef meat and one the dishes is the Mexican Menuno.
On the other hand, the Filipino style of Menudo originated during the time of Spanish colonization in the Philippines. Sautéing is a method of cooking introduced by the Spaniards during their colony and therefore, the pork meat is first sautéed in garlic and onion before stewing in tomato sauce. This, by the way, is the traditional culinary method in cooking this delicious Filipino dish.
- 2 lbs pork loin or shoulder;
- cut in about 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 lb pork or beef liver; sliced in about 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 potato; diced (fry in 3 minutes)
- 1 carrot; diced (fry in 3 minutes)
- 1 onion; chopped
- 4 cloves garlic; minced
- 1 small tomato; chopped
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 calamasi or vinegar
- Cooking oil
Recommended Optional Ingredients
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice (can be mixed as marinade in procedure # 1 and as substitute for calamansi)
- 2 stems of kinchay; chopped (can be sauteed with the pork in procedure # 3)
- 1/4 cup chickpeas (added together with the potato and carrots in procedure # 4)
- 1 red bell pepper; sliced into strips (added together with the potato and carrots in procedure # 4)
- 3 pcs hotdogs; sliced diagonally (boiled and added together with the liver in procedure # 4)
- Sugar for sweet seasoning
Menudo Cooking Instructions
- Marinate pork in soy sauce, calamansi, and ground black pepper for 1 hour.
- Boil liver, drain, and set aside.
- Sauté garlic, onion, and tomato. Add marinated pork, then continue sautéing until all liquid has evaporated and meat starts to render fat.
- Add tomato sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. Add liver, potato, carrot, and raisins. Continue cooking in medium fire for 5 minutes or until cooked.
- Season with little sugar, if desired, according to taste. Serve and enjoy!