Revisiting one of the earliest recipes I’ve posted. The original pechay guisado recipe (relocated to page two of this post) was published on May 1, 2003, the photo looks terrible but the dish is just as good today as it was eleven years ago. Of course, I’ve done some improvements to the recipe. And I have better photos too.
For non-Filipinos, guisado means sautéed but, in context, think of it more in terms of the French mirepoix (holy trinity of onion, celery and carrot), the Spanish sofrito (the Italian spelling is soffritto) or the German suppengrün.
Guisado in the Philippines means that the meat and vegetables were cooked in a spice base which may consist of garlic, onion, tomatoes and ginger.
Pechay is a native variety of cabbage similar to the Chinese bok choy. There is a post about Chinese cabbages that illustrates the visual differences among bok choy, pak choi and wombok and reading that will best explain the nature of pechay.
For this new version of pechay guisado, I used only the lower portion of the pechay leaves — the white stalks basically because they hold up better in the intense heat and a little of the leaves for visual contrast.
- 1 tbsp. of cooking oil
- 1 c. of cubed cooked pork belly
- 1 tbsp. of minced garlic
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bird's eye chili
- soy sauce, any kind, to taste
- 1 small splash of rice wine
- 2 to 3 c. of pechay stalks (and some greens), cut into one-inch lengths
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. Brown the pork (sprinkle with salt and pepper if still unseasoned). Scoop out the meat and set aside.
- In the hot oil (which will now be mixed with pork fat), sauté the garlic, chili and onion just until aromatic.
- Throw in the pechay and cook, tossing often, for about half a minute.
- Add the pork to the pan.
- Season the meat and pechay with soy sauce. Add a splash of rice wine. Cook until most of the liquid has been soaked up by the pork and pechay stalks. Over very high heat, this should take no more than half a minute.
- Serve the pechay guisado with rice.