Monday, September 20, 2021

ECQ Eats: A One Pot Dish of Comforting Flavors with Kinamatisang Baboy

A pot of gold? Not quite. Then again, maybe. Simple, hearty and comforting, a bowl of familiar flavors may well be worth its weight in gold... 

Staying home and dining at home allowed us to rediscover old recipes taking us all back to simpler, less complicated times. I still my remember my aunt's pot of pork belly soup simmered with tomatoes and vegetables, and it still hits all the right spots. In this lingering quarantine, a taste of the familiar goes a long way to get us through another day in a difficult new normal. 

It's a simple recipe, with the savory richness of the fork-tender slabs of pork belly tempered by the tartness of the tomatoes for balanced flavors. Traditionally, pork ribs are used for the hearty soup but pork belly just elevates this dish. And it's easy to prepare at home. You'll need the following ingredients: 
  • Pork Belly (a half kilo should do the trick).
  • Tomatoes (a whole lot, like a half kilo or more for the tartness). 
  • Cabbage
  • Radish
  • Pechay or bok choy
  • Chili
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • pork cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
First, sauté the aromatics in a pot with a little oil until the garlic and onions release a fragrant aroma. Then, add the sliced tomatoes to the pot until it gently simmers and releases its juices. Throw in the sliced slabs of pork belly and allow it to lightly sear before pouring water for the broth. Boil until tender, allowing the flavors of the pork and tomatoes to enrich the broth. You can also add some pork cubes for that flavorful punch. After around half an hour or 45 minutes, add the cabbage to the pot. Fifteen to twenty minutes later, add the radish, pechay and fresh chili and allow to simmer for another twenty minutes. Be sure to add salt and pepper to taste. Easy, right?   

You know it's ready when the pork slabs are tender and the light pale broth is transformed with an orange tint from the tomatoes. The broth is infused with the flavors from the various ingredients with that familiar sourness from the tomatoes. One sip and I'm reminded of carefree childhood summers. I've always believed that good food triggers a place or time, which is why this simple recipe will always be special.

Fresh and clean notes from the tart tomatoes and assorted vegetables tingle on the palate followed by the savory flavors of the pork belly. A pot of Kinamatisang Baboy at home is well worth its weight in gold, more so in this new normal when indulging in simple pleasures offer a much needed break from the daily barrage of news on the pandemic. And it works for me. All the time. What's your favorite comfort food recipe?   

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