Of the 80-plus provinces of the Philippines, IloIlo is heralded as one of the most vibrant, and most colorful. Perhaps it’s because the locals are gentle and have a laid-back lifestyle, and are very generous. The province also has a colorful history and rich cultural heritage, and the Ilonggos are the most discriminating foodies too! If you haven’t tried eating Ilonggo food yet, here are 2 super-tasty dishes that are truly Ilonggo, which you can prepare for the holidays.
In Philippine Recipes, “pochero” is one of the major dishes that has greatly been influenced by the country’s former colonial masters, the Spanish. There are different styles for cooking pochero, and perhaps every region in the country has their own unique way of cooking it.
In the northern part of the Philippines, people add tomato sauce and “chorizo” or Spanish-style sausages to the dish. The Ilonggo version however, doesn’t contain any tomato sauce, but has sweet plantains which make the broth tasty and sweet.
Pochero Ilonggo includes 2 lbs beef shank (or pork hocks), 1 red onion, 1 potato, 1 “saba” or sweet plantain, ½ head of cabbage, corn, salt and pepper to taste, 1 bay leaf.
To cook, place the beef shank (or pork hock) in a pot and add water to cover the meat, then bring to a boil. Scoop out any oil or scum that may surface; add half of the red onion to inject flavor to the dish.
Next, reduce to simmer until meat almost falls off the bones. Add potatoes and bay leaf. Add the saba after a few minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste. Once the potatoes and plantains are almost cooked, add the cabbage. Turn off the heat, and allow the residual heat to cook the cabbage. Serve hot.
La Paz Batchoy
Another dish that’s quintessentially Ilonggo is La Paz Batchoy. The recipe traces its roots to an eatery in the public market of La Paz, which is a district of lloIlo city, the provincial capital. Batchoy is a noodle soup that’s laced with pork organs, crushed pork rind cracklings, shrimp, vegetables, chicken stock, chicken breast, beef loin and round noodles.
To prepare, you need beef shank (with bone in and marrow), pork neck bones, pork shoulder, chicken bones for stock, pork liver, pork intestines (small), bagoong (fish paste), garlic (minced), scallions, shallots, chicharon and Miki (round egg noodles), salt and sugar.
In a brown pot, sauté garlic, shrimp paste and shallots, then add meat for a bit. Next, add water, boil and turn to simmer. Once the pork shoulder, liver and intestines are done, take out from the pot, drain and set aside. Continue boiling the bones. And add fresh garlic, sea salt and a little powdered spice. Cook the egg noodles according to instructions in the packaging, drain and transfer to a bowl.
Chop the pork shoulder, liver and intestines, and top the noodles with it. Chop a few scallions, crush the chicharon and top noodles with it. Add the browned garlic and pour broth over it. Serve hot and enjoy this certified Filipino food favorite.