August 15, 2008
for me, menudo, more than adobo, is the ultimate pinoy comfort food. ever since my childhood, menudo and adobo has been playing a tug-of-war of sorts as my top pinoy favorite dish. but somehow, menudo came up on top in terms of taste and nutrition (of course, the clincher here are the potatoes and the pork liver). everytime i have menudo, it feels like, ohh, everything is all right with the world.
menudo v.1 the achuete kind
the traditional way of cooking menudo (at least the way my great-grandmother did it) was by using achuete instead of the tomato sauce. this is the carinderia variety. you go about soaking the achuete seeds in a bowl of water while saute-ing your onions and your tomatoes and your crushed garlic. after a couple of minutes of saute-ing, you then mix in your pre-seasoned (with salt and pepper), menudo-cut pork liempo or kasim and let it simmer on its own juices for about 3 to 5 minutes. cover the meat with water or a little more above the meat. turn heat into high and let it boil. once boiling, lower the heat to its lowest setting and let the water simmer. pour in the achuete water (less the seeds, of course!) and continue simmering. at this point, you may wanna mix in a couple of pork cubes into the simmering concoction. adjust taste by adding salt and/or patis or a bit of sugar. let it simmer for another 45 minutes before adding in your pork liver. again, let it simmer for another 5 minutes before adding in your potatoes. simmer, simmer, simmer. then add the green and bell pepper and let it simmer more until potatoes are done and meat is tender.
menudo v.2 the tomato sauce version
having expressed my undying love for meh-noo-doh, if i have to choose between the traditional way of cooking menudo and the tomato sauce-based version of the same dish, i would pretty much prefer the latter way of doing menudo — with tomato sauce! here is one recipe that may remind you of your childhood (at least the way it made me remind mine). you can adjust this dish with the memory of your grandmom’s or mom’s best-tasting menudo by adding or reducing any one of these ingredients: soy sauce, patis, salt, sugar, tomato sauce and tomato paste; but the essential way of doing this dish is by following this recipe. (naks naman, master chef ang dating!) hahaha. so NOt! at least, this is how i remember the way choleng’s menudo taste like (but methinks choleng’s menudo is a lot better). she passed away without telling me her menudo secrets. or any culinary secrets that she may have after 40 years of cooking for us for that matter. so going about this recipe is like starting from scratch.
the ingredients for this dish are:
1/2 kilo pork liempo or kasim (cut into menudo cubes)
30php worth of pork liver
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 medium-sized potatoes diced into 10 to 15cm cubes
2 tomatoes diced
1 medium-sized onion diced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 pork cubes
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoon patis
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 medium-sized green bell pepper (cut into a square of 8cms.)
1/2 medium-sized red bell pepper (cut into a square of 8cms.)
follow the procedure from the above achuete-based version but in lieu of achuete water, use tomato paste and tomato sauce as the base. adjust taste if necessary by adding salt or patis. cooking time is from 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. do not overcook the potatoes.
if you have noticed, my menudo lacks the raisins and the carrots you will find in some other menudo variations. i like my menudo without the raisins and the carrots. i can tolerate the carrot in my menudo but pasas? nah. i do eat my raisins but never in mi menudo.
by the way, in my mother’s home, menudo is served with nilagang manok or pinesang lapu-lapu as its partner and rice.