Cured Pork. Every cuisine has it. American Bacon, Italian Prosciutto, Chinese Char Siu, Portuguese Choriço, every cuisine in every corner of the globe has some form of cured pork that is celebrated in their own right.
So what about my neck of the woods?
Filipino cuisine has “Tocino”. Tocino is Spanish for bacon which also happens to be what we call our version of bacon.
I will spare you the history lesson of the centuries long Spanish reign over the country and leave you with the fact that their influence made it into our cuisine to some extent. We have similar names for dishes, but flavour profiles have diverged in a more islander-centric sweet/savoury sort of palette.
Regional variables may be sweeter or spicier depending on north, central or southern Philippines, but the basic recipe remains the same. It is a marriage of pineapple, ketchup, garlic and sugar that somehow just works.
It is a staple for breakfast, merienda-time (our meals on between meals… snacks), lunch and dinner.
Tocino brings me back home and reminds me of Saturday morning breakfast with my mom. Childhood memories of a table full of goodies and in the centre of it all was a big bowl of steamed rice and a plate full of fried Tocino and Longganisa (Filipino Cured Sausage).
Everyone has that Filipino friend that you hung out with. You went to their house and met their mom. I am certain she welcomed you with open arms and offered you a meal and I bet it was a feast you have never forgotten.
It’s mom’s cooking.
It does not matter if it was from a package or if someone else showed her the recipe, mom made it for you.
She made it with love.
Filipino-style cured sweet pork. This is what you will need:
• 3-4 lbs Sliced Pork (8-10 boneless porkchops)
• 1 C Pineapple Juice
• 1/2 cup Banana Ketchup (Tomato Ketchup can be used)
• 1 TBSP Salt
• 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
• 1/2 C Sugar
• 2 TBSP Oil
Combine all ingredients except pork and mix well to make sauce. Taste for strength of flavours. Sauce should have a balance of savoury and sweet with a good amount of tangy. Place pork and sauce in a container or bowl and coat the porkchops well making sure every piece of pork is covered in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but overnight is best. Fry on a pan with some oil or grill using leftover marinade as baste. Serve wth steamed rice and fried egg. Enjoy.