Lasang Pinoy 9: offal in Filipino dishes
The roundup for Lasang Pinoy 9: Lamang-loob: Odd cuts and guts is already up. I was able to squeeze in a few minutes of bloghopping last night and a visit to JMom‘s reminded me I am late once more with my Lasang Pinoy entry. Without much ado, my entry is a kind of summary of previous recipes I have posted using offal or internal organs.
Lengua (ox or pork tongue) is probably the least shocking offal found in Filipino cuisine. And it isn’t even unique here–ox tongue is found in many other cuisines around the world. In the Philippines, probably the most popular way of cooking ox tongue is with mushroom sauce. Well, that’s based on how ox tongue is served in parties. I deviated a little with my lengua with mushroom sauce above by serving the meat with mashed potatoes topped with toasted onion bits (above, left).
Lugaw (congee) is traditionally served with tokwa’t baboy (pork and tofu). During the mid-80s, there was a boom in lugaw stalls and the traditional tokwa’t baboy was replaced by more exotic accompaniments that ranged from ox eyes to ox testicles. My lugaw was served with ox tongue and fried tofu (above, center).
Not as popular as ox tongue, pork tongue can be a passable substitute if you want to cut down on cost, like I did when I cooked my pork tongue asado (above, right). The price of pork tongue is about 1/4 of the price of ox tongue. They cook faster too but you don’t really get the texture that ox tongue is famous for–the melt-in-your-mouth experience if it is cooked right.
In the Philippines, the internal organs of the chicken are always put to good use. Even the intestines are barbequed and they are really quite popular as a street food. Cheap, fast-cooking and filling.
But long before chicken intestines became all the rave, livers and gizzards were already staples in Filipino cooking. When I was a kid and dressed chickens were sold together with the liver and gizzard, when my father cooked tinola, he would mash the cooked liver in patis and serve the mixture as a dipping sauce. That was long ago–livers and gizzards are sold separately these days.
Probably the most popular recipe for liver and gizzard is the classic adobong atay at balon-balonan, a recipe for which JMom posted as her entry for LP 9. I have tried a few variations of that classic dish, one of which is the gizzard and water spinach (balon-balonan at kangkong) adobo (above, left). We have also replicated another popular street food at home–barbequed gizzards (above, center). Just recently, I did a very simple but very flavorful stir fry dish using chicken livers and string beans (above, right).
The honeycomb tripe of the ox is what goes into two classic Filipino dishes–callos (below, left) and kare-kare (below, right). Callos is a spicy stew made with ox tripe, ox leg, choizo de bilbao, potatoes, carrots, peas and garbanzos (chick peas). Kare-kare is a peanut-based stew with various kinds of ox meat that include the tripe, intestines, leg, tail and face.
The ox tripe, or goto as it is popularly called in the Philippines, is also served with lugaw. The practice of cooking the tripe and the rice together has somehow created the impression that they do belong together that the lugaw-and-tripe dish has long been referred to simply as goto (above, center).
Let’s get a little more “daring”.
Igado (below, left) and bachoy are two dishes that use the same mixture of pork meat–loin, lapay (spleen) and bato (kidney). Another similar dish, the papaitan is a soup dish flavored with the liquid from the pig’s kidneys, squeezed right after the animal is slaughtered.
Dinuguan (derived from the root word “dugo”, the Filipino word for blood) is a pork stew made with pig’s blood. Various kinds of pork meat go into the dish–belly, liver, heart, intestines, spleen, kidney… they are diced and boiled with a souring agent (vinegar or tamarind) until tender. The blood is added towards the end of cooking. Dinuguan is traditionally a midday snack served with puto (sweet rice cakes) but my family enjoys eating it with rice as a main meal.
The dish in the last photo above was an experiment I did years ago when this blog was very new. My father used to cook pig’s brain as a frittata. He would parboil the brains, peel off the membranes then slice them. The sliced pieces were seasoned, dipped in egg then fried. The dish is called tortand utak and is another classic Filipino dish. But I didn’t think my kids would eat it. The cooked dish doesn’t hide what’s in it–that it is a brain is plain to see. But I wanted them to try it and learn to appreciate the unique texture and flavor. I parboiled the brains, cleaned them then diced them. I mixed them with chopped onion, garlic, carrots and parsley, stirred in some beaten eggs and stuffed the mixture into cooked eggplants. The cooked dish looked every inch like usual tortang talong made with ground pork. Did my kids wince when I served them the pig’s brain frittata? No, they didn’t.
So, this getting to be a novel-length entry again. There are other recipes in this blog that include offal in the ingredients but I can’t include them all in this entry. I think this is long enough as it is.