Sugar braised pork
Earlier this week I had purchased a new cookbook called The Filipino American Kitchen by Jennifer M. Aranas. My parents are both from the Philippines, but I never officially learned how to make any Filipino dishes. My great aunt was always the one who cooked for us, so it never occurred to me until lately that I want to learn. The only thing I really knew how to make was chicken and pork adobo, which is really the simplest recipe ever. What made me purchase this specific cookbook was what it said on the cover — “Traditional Recipes, Contemporary flavors.” I like how the author incorporates traditional Filipino food with American — contemporary flavors. To some people, authentic Filipino food might not sit well with their taste buds, and so I would recommend this cookbook for those people. The cookbook has beautiful photographs of the food, and the recipes seem fairly simple, but do contain some ingredients that would have to be purchased at either an Asian grocery store, or in the international aisle at a market or grocery store.
Looking through the book, I decided to try to make the Sugar Braised Pork — or Humba. I’ve never had this dish in my life, and the picture definitely sold me. The pork is braised in a liquid made of fermented black beans (or salted black beans), vinegar, and brown sugar. I cooked it on low heat on the stove for approximately 2 1/2 hours. It turned out really great, the meat was so tender, it practically fell apart as i jabbed it with my fork. To go along with this, I made another recipe from the book — Coconut-Garlic mashed potatoes. The pork would obviously go well with white rice, but I wanted to make something different — more “contemporary” if you will. Instead of using milk or cream, it calls for a can of coconut milk, which really gives it a great taste. You can definitely taste the coconut, but it’s not too overwhelming, and honestly I could have used more garlic than called for (8 cloves). I also attempted to make Szechuan green beans to go along with it. They weren’t as “Szechuany” like in the restaurants, but they were still good, perhaps a little salty because of the soy sauce. Overall, all of the flavors went well together, and it was a great “comfort” type of Filipino food.
Coconut-Garlic Mashed Potatoes
2 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1-in cubes
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small bay leaf
5-6 cups water
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Place potatoes, garlic, bay leaf, and water in a large pot. There should be enough water to cover potatoes. Bring the pot to a boil and cook for 20-30 minutes until potatoes and garlic are very tender when pierced with a fork.
2. Pour the potatoes into a strainer to drain completely; discard bay leaf.
3. Pass the potatoes and garlic through a food mill returning the mixture into the pot.*
4. Over medium heat, add the coconut milk, butter, salt, and pepper to the potatoes, folding all ingredients together that they are well blended.
5. Cook 3-4 minutes until butter has melted and potatoes are hot.
*Note: I do not have a food mill, so instead I put the potatoes, garlic, butter, salt, pepper, and coconut milk in my kitchen aid stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and mixed well. Turned out perfectly fine.