A BLOGGER’S SPECIAL DINNER – NILAGANG BABOY.
April 4, 2010. It was Easter Sunday and I have nowhere to go but stay at the hotel. It was almost lunch time and the hotel only provides breakfast. I was almost dining out and spending a lot on meals I did not really like. It seems that I can cook better tasting dishes and satisfy my taste buds than paying a fortune for a fancy meal. Thus, I decided to go to the grocery store to shop for stuffs that I would be needing.
Well, I had to spend roughly PHP2,000.00 to buy half kilo of ground pork and half kilo pork plus 1 kilo of rice and vegetables. Food in Europe is more expensive than in the Philippines. This amount is almost a week’s worth of grocery for me, my wife and son. Anyway, this amount is just enough for me to buy a decent steak meal with a glass of water here. Hehehe.
So, I decided to cook either Giniling na Baboy (Pork Cutlet) because I got half kilo of ground pork, bell pepper, potato, onions, garlic and tomato sauce but I also craved for a soup dish like Nilagang Baboy (Boiled Pork with Vegetables) since I have cabbage leaves, potatoes, onions and pepper. Thus, I took the latter one as a choice and decided that I will have it as my dinner instead of going out to dine with the usual burger, chicken with fries, steak or spare ribs.
Below is a narrative of how I did it with photos! I am not really a professional cook or very good at it but I can prepare a good-tasting dish that could make my son and wife feel as if they were dining out on a fancy restaurant even when at home. So my self-confidence when it comes to cooking is quite high. More so, I come from a family that knows how to cook and from the province known for having the best tasting dishes in the country. So let’s start cooking!
1. Prepare the chopping board, knife and all the ingredients that you will be needing.
•250g pork (choices of belly, hocks, neck or any bony parts of pork), cut into cubes or serving pieces
•5-6 cups water or rice washing
•3 cloves garlic, crushed
•1 onion, quartered
•2 green onions (scallions), sliced into 1” long
•1/4 tsp. peppercorn
•salt or fish sauce to taste
•2 potatoes, quartered
•pechay or cabbage leaves
2. If you are cooking rice while you are about to cook the dish, try to save 5-6 cups of the rice washing since you can use this to boil the pork and add better taste and consistency for the soup. Put the rice washing in a big pot for later use.
3. Cut pork into cubes or any equal serving pieces. For me, I got 500g of pork chops at the grocery because they aren’t selling any other parts like pork belly, neck or any bony parts so I had to cut 2 of the pork chops into cubes.
4. Place pork in a big pot and let it covered with water or the rice washing the you saved earlier. Set the stove to high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer until pork is tender for about an hour. You may need to check at some time since some pork tend to tenderize faster. Thus, you need not to wait an entire hour.
5. While boiling and tenderizing the pork, you can start washing then peeling the potatoes. Afterwards, cut them into cubes as well. In this image, I tried to cut each into 8 parts but the size does not matter. It is all up to you.
6. You can peel the onion off its skin and cut it into four parts. Some may want to cut it into small pieces but it’s just the same and the taste would not change regardless of how you cut it. Usually, I use smaller red onions but since I was not able to find one at the grocery, I used the bigger onions which actually taste less cry without the tear-effect! Also, Slice the pechay or cabbage leaves.
7. Remember to always check what you are cooking especially when you are boiling or tenderizing meat. If you see it boiling, lower the heat and check if the meat is tender. Remove all the resulting scum that will rise to the top of the pot.
12. While waiting, check the rice that you have been cooking in case that you are doing the same as what I have done. When the rice boils, try to lower the heat and open a little portion of the cover.
15. Wash all the utensils that you have used to keep things clean and in order. This will also keep you at the kitchen while waiting for your dish and rice to cook. Sometimes, some people tend to watch TV or surf the internet and forgets about what they are cooking. As a result, they either end up losing a good meal or their houses on fire. So beware!
18. Usually, before I conclude the cooking, I do final taste test and seasoning. For this dish, I use salt but it is better also to use fish sauce as it can leave better taste. Since I was not able to buy a fish sauce (Patis) here, I just used soy sauce as a substitute. If the taste suits you well, then you are done! Remove from heat and serve hot.
21. Now, your Nilagang Baboy or Boiled Pork with Vegetables should look like this and it should taste well. You should be enjoying your dinner by now!
I was able to have a nice dinner for almost like 80 percent less the usual cost of a meal here in Europe! More so, I felt like home since I was eating a 100% Pinoy food that I personally cooked. I had like 6 cups of rice an ate almost the entire 500g of pork and vegetables. Afterwards, I woke up with a stiff neck and a full stomach. Cool!