Menudo is a simple and very well known Filipino dish served by and to the common people. It is served at the roadside carinderia (eatery), in school and office canteens and as an everyday dish in people's homes.
Although dishes with tomato sauce are usually special fare served only on occasions, this dish is an exclusion. The ingredients are plain and simple and can be modified to further feed more people on a small budget. A watered down version will have more potatoes than meat and more sauce to smear on the rice.
Everyone from all walks of life eat this dish. Snobbery is set aside when it comes to what is regarded as delicious food. Menudo may be a simple dish to cook but a lot of times it doesn't come as appetizing as it should be. It is the proper sauteing of the ingredients that gives it the right flavour.
I cook menudo like any old cook does but added a good Spanish sweet pimenton (smoked paprika) for a richer and deeper flavour. It tastes like it has chorizos in it. My personal touch is the addition of sultanas. Just a small amount gives the dish a more rounded taste.
It has been a while since I've cooked menudo. Thinking about food like this makes me think of the honest, hardworking Filipinos who eat it. Like them, I like simple food. I like it best with garlic fried rice. If not, on hot pan de sal as a sandwich. Nothing beats the taste of home.
Yield: 4-6 servings
600 gms. pork meat (shoulder or butt)
1 tsp. good quality pimenton dulce (smoked sweet paprika)
1 tbsp. soy sauce (I used Japanese soy)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
juce of 1 calamansi or half a lime
2 tbsps. olive oil
1 tbsp. crushed garlic
1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
2 tbsps. tomato puree (tomato paste)
2 tbsps. sultanas or raisins
200 gms. potatoes, cut into rectangular chunks
1/4 c. sweet red pepper, cut into triangles
1 tbsp. sugar
salt to taste
Cut the pork meat into rectangular pieces, roughly, 2" x 1" x 1/4". Put the meat in bowl and add the pimenton, soy sauce, black pepper and calamansi or lime juice. Mix thoroughly and leave to marinade for at least half an hour.
Heat up a sauté pan, medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the garlic and sauté until golden brown.
Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
Add the seasoned pork and turn the heat up. Fry until the pork is sealed and the mixture is dry.
Add the tomato puree and stir. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates.
Add the sultanas or raisins. Push the mixture to one side and add the water, taking care not to wash off the caramelization on the pork. Push the mixture to cover the bottom of the pan.
Put the cover on and simmer on very gentle heat until fork tender. Stir the mixture from time to time and add 1/2 c. of water as needed. This swill take about an hour.
Add the potatoes, sweet pepper and sugar.
Stir, put the cover on and cook until the potatoes are done. Season with salt to taste. The finished dish should have a thick sauce.
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