10 October


Inihaw Na Liempo

(Filipino Grilled Pork Belly)

October: National Pork Month

A Filipino fiesta is incomplete without pork: lechon, pata, adobo, sinigang and inihaw! So October is an even more popular month for Filipinos as it is National Pork Month. Whenever we go over to Islander’s relatives’ homes, there is always a Pinoy pork dish of some sort. If there is a family gathering outdoors, and there is grilling going on, then everyone gets to feast on meat sticks and pork belly (this makes sense as both recipes use similar ingredients of mafran/banana sauce and calamansi juice for the marinade). One of Islander’s favorites is inihaw na liempo. The marbled meat looks charred but is still moist and tasty. Grilled pork belly is simply served with hot steamed rice and a vinegary dipping sauce to sop up the flavorful fat. Because it is so rich, inihaw is a rare indulgence now for us. But when we eat it, it is a special treat at those family gatherings and during National Pork Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Ang Sarap!)

Ingredients

  • 2-2 ½ pounds pork belly
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup calamansi juice (or lemon juice)
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup banana sauce/ketchup (or tomato ketchup)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

Directions

In a medium bowl, make the marinade by combining the soy sauce, calamansi or lemon juice, garlic and brown sugar.

Season with black pepper. Place pork belly in a zipper top plastic bag and pour the marinade in the bag. Seal well and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the pork belly to a plate and pour the marinade in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for a minute to kill off any pork bacteria. Let cool in another bowl and mix in banana sauce and oil.

Preheat the outdoor grill. Cook the pork belly for about 10 minutes on one side, basting with marinade frequently. Turn over on the other side and continue to baste until cooked through (do not overcook or the pork will be tough). Put pork belly on a plate or pan and let rest for about five minutes. Slice into bite-sized pieces. Serve with vinegar dipping sauce.

Bonus Recipe:

Sawsawan (Vinegar Dipping Sauce)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vinegar (we use a combination of ¾ cup cane sugar vinegar and ¼ cup mirin/sweet rice vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (may omit if using sweet rice vinegar)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 dried chili peppers or ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

Directions

In a mixing bowl, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, onions and peppers. Store remaining sauce in a jar, refilling with a little vinegar if needed. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Notes

  • If mafran/banana sauce/banana ketchup is unavailable, substitute with tomato ketchup. If calamansi juice is unavailable, substitute with lemon juice.
  • Search our blog for more Filipino and pork recipes.

Kabocha Salad

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

Our local library’s culinary club once had a potluck theme about pumpkins. Members brought in a variety of sweet and savory dishes—pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin soup, pumpkin hummus….. But Islander’s friend, Yukiko H., brought in something slightly different than the usual pumpkin recipes. Her contribution was a salad/side dish made out of Japanese pumpkin, a squash called kabocha. It was kind of sweet and savory at the same time and it was Islander’s favorite of all the other potluck pumpkin dishes. Thankfully, Yukiko shared her recipe with us and we are happy to feature her kabocha salad recipe on our blog for National Pumpkin Day.

Recipe

(From Yukiko H.)

Ingredients

  • Small kabocha squash, cooked until tender
  • ¼ cup onion
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 slices of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions

Cut the kabocha squash into wedges or large chunks. Scoop out the seeds. Peel off the skin. Cook by baking (first toss in a little cooking oil, spread on a baking sheet and heat in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 30-40 minutes) OR boiling (simmer in a pot of boiling water for 20-30 minutes until soft, then drain). Place in a bowl and mash a little bit, leaving some chunky pieces.

In a large bowl, grate the onion and sprinkle a little salt to get rid of its sharpness. Add vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in the same bowl and mix them well.

Chop the bacon roughly. Fry the bacon pieces in the canola oil until they become crispy. Put them in the bowl, including the grease, in the onion mixture. Toss in the kabocha pieces. Dish out and serve warm.

Notes

  • Arigato (thank you) for sharing your recipe for our blog, Yukiko!
  • Don’t forget to check out all of our other pumpkin recipes under the Theme Menus tab.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

One can of pumpkin puree = three recipes (first—pumpkin hummus, second—pumpkin pie spice rice krispies treats, and third—this pumpkin spice latte). All of these pumpkin recipes, plus the ones we have posted in the past, has made it necessary for us to add a “pumpkins” category to our Theme Menus.

Although Highlander has cut down his spending on and drinking Starbuck’s coffees and has taken up tea, he likes to indulge once in a while on a latte-like libation. Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte is so popular that it showed up on the menu a whole month before the fall season even started!

There are lots of artificial ingredients and flavors in the sugary Starbuck’s beverage. So we made a much healthier version at home with the leftover pumpkin puree we had from the two other recipes we made earlier.

For a fall favorite beverage, make this pumpkin spice latte to celebrate National Pumpkin Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Nutribullet)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/cup vanilla almond milk, sweetened or unsweetened
  • 1/cup coffee, black/strong, cooled (we used Kona coffee)
  • 1/teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Optional toppings: whipped cream, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg

Directions

In the container of a blender/mixer, combine the pumpkin puree, almond milk and coffee. Sprinkle in the pumpkin pie spice.

Add the maple syrup. Cover the container and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass or mug. Garnish with a swirl of whipped cream and sprinkles of ground cinnamon and/or nutmeg.

Notes

  • Use canned pumpkin puree and not canned pumpkin pie mix.
  • This is a thin drink; it is not thick like a smoothie.
  • Substitute almond milk for another favorite milk. If using unsweetened almond milk, add ¼ teaspoon vanilla.
  • Check out our new “Pumpkins” category under the Theme Menus tab on our blog.

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