Humba (braised pork belly) humba (braised pork belly)

*UPDATE: Click here for a better recipe for humba and how to serve it as cua pao.

A classic Filipino pork dish, the traditional way of cooking humba is to slowly simmer a whole slab of pork belly in a mixture of tausi (salted black beans), vinegar, dark brown sugar, garlic, onions, peppercorns and oregano. The more elegant way of cooking humba is to grill the pork belly first until the rind is all crisp and puffy and then braise it in the usual mixture of herbs and spices. The cooked humba acquires the texture of pata tim–the rind is chewy and the meat is very, very tender.

Humba was today’s lunch. A very late lunch, actually, because we had breakfast at around 11.00 a.m. I didn’t start cooking lunch until around 1.00 p.m. and we finally ate at around 3.00.

A lot of people stay away from pork belly, or liempo in Filipino parlance, because of the amount of fat in it. Good quality pork belly is not that fatty. The slab of pork belly I cooked today had about 1/8″ of fat between the rind and the skin and most of that melted off when I grilled the meat in the oven. So, just choose your pork belly well and you won’t have to worry too much about ingesting all that fat.

Click here for a better recipe for humba and how to serve it as cua pao.

Ingredients :

1 kilo of uncut pork belly
4 tbsps. of vinegar
6 tbsps. of dark brown sugar
1 whole garlic
1 whole onion
1 laurel leaf
20 peppercorns
a bunch of dried oregano (available in the spice section of supermarkets and vegetable stalls in wet markets)
2 heaping tbsps. of undrained tausi (canned tausi is available in supermarkets)
meat broth or water
chopped cilantro for garnish (optional, but recommended)

Cooking procedure :

Lay the pork belly on a chopping board. With a sharp knife, make incisions about half an inch deep on the rind, running the entire width of the pork belly about half an inch apart. Place the pork belly on a baking dish, skin side up, and grill in a very hot oven (200oC) for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the rind is very well browned, puffed and crisp.

Place the pork belly in a cooking pan. Pour enough broth (or water) to reach about 3/4 of its height. Add the whole garlic, whole onion, peppercorns, tausi, oregano, vinegar, sugar and laurel leaf. Cover tightly and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half. Add more broth or water if the liquid dries up before the pork is thoroughly cooked.

Transfer the pork to a chopping board and cut through the incisions. Arrange on a serving platter. Strain the sauce and pour over the pork. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve hot.

[tags]pork+recipe, meat+recipe, filipino+recipe, cooking, food, recipe[/tags]