Filipino Menudo is a dish that every “Pinoy” has in his /her cooking arsenal. Despite its Spanish roots, this flavor explosion is one meal that many Filipinos all over the world can identify with.
Menudo. Not the Ricky Martin Menudo. Not the Mexican Menudo. Menudo, to many, is actually distinctly Filipino. Like many Filipino dishes, it is one adapted from our colonisers. It can be made in different ways depending on different regions or even depending on the house you have it in, yet any Filipino would know what it is if you serve it to them blindfolded.
What Makes Menudo Different
This delicious tomato, pork, and liver stew is, admittedly, similar to our many Spanish inspired tomato and meat stews. Two that immediately comes to mind are caldereta or afritada, but it bears a uniqueness to the other tomato dishes when it comes to the protein used and the variety of flavors in it. Slightly stronger tomato flavor, slightly thicker because of pork liver, slightly bulkier from the beans and peas, and slightly sweeter because of raisins. It is, out of all the traditional tomato-meat stews, the most accurately fitting of being a party in your mouth.
Filipino Menudo and Rice
The dish is a treat whether paired with rice or eaten on its own. Fair warning, though, if you do eat it on its own you might get an overwhelming outcry of disapproval from any Filipino/Filipina. We would say this about any Filipino dish, to be honest. We hold our rice pairings sacred but just because we love our flavors rich and in your face. The Filipino Menudo is exactly that. Pork, liver, potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, green peas, raisins, tomatoes, and fish sauce or soy sauce for a kick of more salt, because why not.
Menudo, the College Canteen Favorite
Philippine Menudo is so common that Filipinos would often relate it to two very different memories. It is the cheap and always safe “ulam” or viand that goes with the unlimited rice (Yes! This is an actual thing in the Philippines!) served in sidewalk canteens. In my opinion, it almost always turns out to be slightly nicer than the other common canteen options, like Adobo (Meat stewed in soy sauce), or Pritong Isda (fried fish). Pork, being its meat component, makes it affordable and reachable from any social status. You can make it relatively cheap by dropping one or two ingredients when done on a regular day.
Menudo, the Party Must-Have
Or you can also go all out. It is also your mother’s must-have dish when making a traditional Filipino party buffet, alongside the 10000 dishes cooked up for the occasion. When done properly, its sheer number of ingredients shows an unsparing desire to cater to a guests’ dining pleasure when served by a Filipino host.
Mom Knows Menudo
However, like many Filipino dishes, the principle “mom knows best” applies to the Philippine Menudo. With that being said, if you are Filipino and this is different to how your mom makes it, please resist the urge to crucify me. I’m sure your mom’s version is lovely too but this is the recipe that my mom passed on and one I swear by. I tweaked it a little to cater to my husband’s taste but it still is delicious. If you have yet to experience this amazing dish, do try it out!
- oil for cooking
- 400 g pork tenderloin, cut into small cubes
- 100 g cooked pork liver / liver pate
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 cup diced potatoes
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 diced onion
- 1can drained garbanzo beans
- 200 g frozen peas
- 75 g raisins
- 1 can/ 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
- Marinade the pork in the dark soy sauce while chopping the other veggies (15 mins or so)
- Heat up the oil in a large skillet or pot. Sautee the garlic and onion. Add the pork and cook for 3-5 mins in high heat until browned, stirring constantly. Reserve the remaining marinade.
- Lower the heat. Add the remaining marinade, tomatoes, and liver; cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir the garbanzo beans, raisins, carrots and potatoes into the mixture; cover and simmer until the potatoes are almost soft, about 6-7 mins.
- Add the frozen peas and stir in for 3-5 mins.
- You can add some water and a bit of tomato paste if you want more sauce.
- In place of liver, you can also use pate. This gives the sauce a bit more thickness and a little bitterness and depth.
- The regular "everyday homecooking" version of Pork Menudo can omit the garbanzos, carrots, and even the liver if you are not a fan.