Hello Everyone! How was your day today? Or if you are just about to start your day, I hope you have a great ahead! I thought I’d start tonight’s post a little different, as I seem to either always apologising for something or delving right into the recipe. Anyway, I had a productive day(?) I’m not sure if going into the city and doing some window-shopping count as being productive *cheeky grin*
Tocino, just like Beef Tapa and Longganisa, are staples that are native to the Philippines. Tocino is basically sweet cured pork, with similar ways of preparation to that of ham and bacon, although beef and chicken can often be used as alternatives. It is sweet and savoury in taste and artificially reddish in colour to make it look more appetising. Of course, the addition of red food colouring is optional, as it does not affect the overall taste of the meat.
Though tocino is usually eaten for breakfast such as tosilog, it has been a famous Filipino ‘anytime’ food because it is readily available in almost every grocery store and can be consumed at any time of the day. We usually have tosilog for dinner – I mean who can say no to breakfast for dinner?
The process of making tocino varies from different regions of the Philippines – my favourite would definitely have to be the Kapampangan way in which boast “The Original Tocino” makers. The more popular kind of tocino, which we’ve already established is sweet, Kapampangans have a special kind called Pindang which has an added tanginess to it. In addition, to achieve that soft and tender meat, Kapampangans mix all the ingredients together by hand for a whopping 3 to 5 hours! It is then left covered overnight at room temperature to ferment before putting it in the fridge to cure.
The original recipe for making your own homemade pork tocino, Kapampangan style, can be found over on Foxy Folksy.
PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4-5
*If making your own homemade tocino, allow for up to 2 days preparation before proceeding to dish up a Tosilog dish for breakfast
For the tocino marinade
- 1kg pork butt, shoulder, ham or belly, cut into 1/4 inch thin slices
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- Natural red food colour (optional)
To serve with
- Garlicky fried rice or steamed rice
- Fried sunny-side up egg
- Spicy vinegar
If using store-bought tocino, skip ahead to step 5
- In a large mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients for the tocino marinade except for the pork slices. Mix the ingredients together until will combined.
- Add the pork slices into the marinade and mix by hand for up to an hour, or more if you have the patience to do so. Don’t forget to use gloves to avoid stained hands!
- Once done with the mixing, transfer the pork to a container with a cover and let it sit overnight on the countertop.
- Mix pork around for a couple of times more before placing it in the fridge to cure for 24 hours or up to 3 days. It can be frozen afterwards and stored for longer (up to 3 months).
- Now that you’ve acquired the knack of making your own tocino (or no shame in just getting store-bought ones), it’s time to cook it!
- Add about 2 cups of water (or just enough to cover the meat) and 1/4 cup of cooking oil into a large frying pan together with the pork tocino slices. Boil over high heat. The process of boiling further tenderises the meat while cooking.
- When the water evaporates, the cooking oil will be left, instantly frying the meat. Turn the meat over after a few minutes of frying to cook evenly on all sides.
- Serve hot with garlicky fried rice or steamed rice and fried egg – browned and crispy on the edges with a golden liquidy yolk is how I like my fried eggs. In addition, it tastes best when dipped in spicy vinegar!
Just a word of advice before I leave it here for tonight – it is indefinitely hard to resist the taste of good cured meat but moderate consumption is recommendable. We want to avoid too much intake as it can still affect our health in the long run. Try to limit your servings of pork tocino to at least once or twice a month.
– Ally xx