Like everyone else, Filipinos love stew! There are lots of stew varieties in the Philippines, which are mostly soy sauce or tomato sauce based. My parents prepare the best stew so I grew up loving all kinds of it. But I must admit that tomato-based ones appeal to me more. Among the tomato-based stews, there are three dishes which I was really fond of eating when I was little. Well, actually, until now. :) These are the Afritada, Caldereta (Kaldereta) and Menudo. These three dishes have almost the same ingredients but they differ in the meat used. Originally, Afritada is cooked with chicken while Caldereta is cooked using beef or goat, and Menudo is cooked with pork. In all three dishes, meat is stewed in tomato sauce with vegetables like carrots, potatoes and bell pepper. I tell you, they are all so good. I guess that is why all of them have evolved into many variations which differ from region to region and even from family to family. Some use beef, chicken and pork interchangeably in these dishes. I remember that when I was little, I would often get confused with what dish I am eating whenever we’re attending fiestas, weddings or other parties. When I see a tomato-based pork stew, I would often ask my mom/dad if it’s Afritada, Caldereta or Menudo. My parents said it would be simple to distinguish the three dishes from each other if the the person who cooked the dish sliced the meat properly. My dad said that meat in Afritada and Caldereta is supposed to be cubed, about 0.75″x0.75″ for Afritada and about 1.5″x1.5″ for Caldereta, and for Menudo, meat should be cut into thin slices about 1″x2″ in size. My parents said that the way the meat is sliced will help differentiate the three dishes from each other even if the same meat is used, and I totally agree with them. I know that many cooks slice the meat differently, but from where I grew up, that’s how it is… cube for afritada and caldereta and thin strips for menudo.
Today, let me share with you my version of Filipino Menudo. By looking at the photo below, I’m sure you’ll notice that this looks a little different from the other menudo you’ve seen on the web…
Just like how my parents taught me, I cut the meat in thin slices about 1″x2″ in size. I also cut the vegetables in the same size as the meat. I am not saying that this is the correct way of doing it, but I must say that doing it this way will help differentiate it from pork Afritada just by looking at it. :)
Unlike the more famous Mexican Menudo which is made of tripe in red chili base, the Filipino Menudo is made of pork (marinated in soy sauce and calamansi) and calf liver, cooked in tomato sauce with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, bell pepper, green peas or chickpeas, as well as raisins and Filipino red hotdogs. My daughters don’t like liver too much so I omitted the liver strips in this recipe, and just used canned liver pâté for thicker sauce and the needed liver flavor. For the red hotdogs, I used beef franks as substitute, and instead of using kalamansi or lemon for marinade, I used canned pineapple juice. This gives the meat a slightly sweet flavor that my daughters really love.
You should try this recipe and let me know what you think about it…
- 4 lbs. pork loin or pork shoulder butt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 2 large potatoes, sliced into thin strips about 0.75"x1.5"
- 1 medium-sized carrot, sliced into strips (same size as potatoes)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips (same size as potatoes)
- 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into strips (same size as potatoes)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup banana catsup
- 2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
- 2 Tbsp raisins
- 1/3 cup green peas
- 3 pieces beef franks, cut lengthwise and then bias-sliced
- 1 small can (4.76 oz.) Liver Pate
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- For the Marinade:
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pc. bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Cut the meat in thin strips about 1"x2" in size. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and marinate the meat for at least an hour (for best result do it overnight).
- Saute garlic in olive oil until light brown. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add the meat, stir and cover the pan.
- Stir occasionally, and keep the lid on until most of the liquid comes out of the meat. Add the raisins, pickle relish, tomato sauce and banana catsup. Season with salt & pepper and bring to a boil.
- Add the liver spread and stir. Cover and simmer over medium heat until meat is close to being tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the potato and beef franks.
- When the potato is halfway to being cooked, add the carrots, green peas and bell pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes more.
- Remove from heat. Serve hot with rice.
© 2012, Tina a.k.a. PinayInTexas. All rights reserved.