Little Filipino Boy in the Kitchen… 

The weather in New York City has been acting like me when I’m getting dressed for a party.

I don’t know what I want to do with myself. I change outfits no less than seven times, only to settle on the first outfit. Mother Nature has been behaving the same way lately.

It went from unseasonably warm, to chilly, to warmer, to really warm for January (I saw someone outside in shorts yesterday) to chilly. I’m not going to comment on Mother Nature’s indecisiveness anymore. It’s getting too real.

Real enough for me to realize that I was craving stew, and wanted stew, so I made stew. I made one of my favorites: menudo.

Now, menudo is one of the gold standards of my personal stew tastes. I love stews, but menudo and their cousin kaldereta leave some big shoes to fill. And like champorado, it is another Filpino dish that was influenced by Spanish culinary traditions via New Spain (aka Mexico). The differences are that Filipino menudo is more of a pork stew with a tomato base while Mexican menudo is a tripe soup with a chili pepper base.

When the idea came to me to make menudo, it was like making plans to visit an old friend who I haven’t seen in a long time. Which of course is misnomer because that suggests I have friends. I was so happy with the idea to make this savory stew that I almost started to cry.

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You’re wrong, Auntie Noxy. I’m crying because I am going to bring menudo back!

Recipe basics are courtesy of my favorite Filipino food blog Panlasang Pinoy.  

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  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • 1 tsp. annatto powder
  • 1 can (or box) of garbanzo beans (chick peas)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4-5 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 6 mini potatoes, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1lb pork shoulder, cubed for stew.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced. (I have this huge garlic bulb so I only used one)
  • 1 cup of frozen peas (not pictured, I improvised this one).
  • 1 1/2 tsps. of patis (fish sauce, not pictured, I improvised this one too.)
  • 1 tsp. of Siracha (another improvisation.)
  • 1 tbsp. of canola oil.
  • 2 1/2 cups of water.

 

Mix the annatto powder, fish sauce and siracha with the 2 1/2 cups of water and set aside.

In an appropriate pot for stew, sauté the onions and 1/3 of the cubed carrots in oil and once the onions are translucent, add the garlic. Add the pork just so they can brown on the outside edges and remove from the pot. Add the potatoes and carrots and allow to cook for 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, and cook for 3 minutes. Use a spoon to extract the juices from the diced tomatoes. Add wet ingredients (water/annatto/patis/siracha mixture) and bring to a boil. Add in pork and bring down to a simmer, for about 20-25 minutes. Add frozen peas and chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes.

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Maybe it was just me, but the cooking process itself wasn’t how I remembered it from watching my mother in the kitchen. But then again, she just used that good ol’ Mama Sita packet and called it a day.

I, being the little FIlipino boy in drag the kitchen would only call it a day if it looked delicious.

And here it was:

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And it was delicious.

Yes, Aunty Noxy. I brought menudo back for dinner last night. And there are leftovers that went right in the freezer so I can enjoy this later on, too.

 

 

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