Pinapaitan is one of those Ilocano dishes I love to eat but I can’t seem to get the taste right when I am the one cooking it. There are two pinapaitan versions I am aware of so far, one is the “bitter version“ which I believe is an original Ilocano version and the other is “bitter-sour version” which I am not sure if it is a non-ilocano variation. I like it either way. My husband Frederick though prefer the plain bitter version. My brother in-law, cooks delicious pinapaitan where the soup is dark green in color and thick, and has a bitter taste yet leaves an aftertaste that is somewhat sweet and sour .
Pinapaitan is a “bitter” soup dish popular not only among the Ilocanos but also among Filipinos specially those from the Luzon areas. This dish is not for the squeamish and finicky eaters not only because of its bitter taste but also because of its ingredients / contents. In order for one to really enjoy and appreciate the exoticism of pinapaitan, one has to develop an acquired taste like with any other exotic foods.
Yes, pinapaitan is exotic. I said so because of its ingredients. Pinapaitan contains innards like tripe, liver, kidney, heart, pancreas, intestines of cows or goats. The bitter taste of the soup comes from the juice called pait extracted from the small intestines or the pinespes which comes from the large intestines. Excitingly exotic isn’t it? :D let your imagination start rolling :D my husband also adds bile juice for a stronger bitter taste plus I heed my husband’s suggestion to put more ginger, and so I did
For those in the province where goats and cows are grass-fed, it’s ok and safe to use the pait and pinespes. BUT for those living in the Metro Manila area, I suggest you make use of the bile juice. You don’t know what the cows or goats sold in the city had been feeding on, you know >:D
In our hometown Tabuk, kakarni-an (those who monger meat in the wet market) usually sell pinapaitan ingredients in bundles complete with the innards as well as “bitter juices”. Special pinapaitan includes both the pait and pinespes with a bile juice. During our first day in Tabuk I volunteered to cook pinapaitan. It was my first try, the ingredients are complete except for the missing pinespes, we only had the pait and a bit of the bile juice. My first try is short of the “bitter taste” and it didn’t taste as good as the one cooked by my brother in law so I have to cook another one for the second time around. My second try is better, as I have both the pait and the pinespes without the bile juice though.
Anyway, here’s my pinapaitan version. It’s actually Pinapaitan soured with kamias because there is no kalamansi (small lime) available.
For those of you who are in Singapore, you can also cook pinapaitan sans the pespes, pait, and bile juice. Try my husband’s recipe using a special “bitter juice” ingredient which is available at Tekka market – see Pinapaitan : Frederick’s Mutton Version
- Beef innards (a mixture of tripe, liver, kidney, heart, pancreas, and intestines) – sliced in small pieces
- Beef meat – sliced in small pieces
- Bile juice
- Ginger, crushed and chopped – 2 thumb size
- Onions, diced – 1 medium
- Garlic, crushed and chopped – 7 cloves
- Kamias, diced – 10 pieces or more as desired
- Fish sauce, salt & pepper to taste
- Oil for sautéing
- Green sili (optional)
- Rice wash and/or water - 1 L or at least 1 inch above the meat
- Before slicing the beef innards make sure that you clean them thoroughly specially the intestines. Separate the sliced liver.
- Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the garlic until it turns brown then add the onions and ginger.
- Stir in the innards and meat except for the liver. Let simmer for at least 5 minutes.
- Transfer the meat in a pressure cooker. Add water and/or the rice wash as much as you want and the pait, pinespes, and the bile juice as well as the diced kamias. Bring to a boil under pressure until the meat are tender. Remove lid. If you have no pressure cooker, just cook it in a pot until the meat are tender
- Season with fish sauce, salt and pepper. Adjust sourness by adding more kamias. Crush it. Let it boil for 5 minutes
- Add the liver and the green sili and let it simmer for at least 2 minutes.
- Serve hot.
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