Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Stewed Pig's Blood with Beef and Tamarind Leaves (Dinuguan)
I know, I know the picture and the title (and hence this dish) is something straight out of "Fear Factor." I also apologize to those who are observing lent. But this dish just came in from Hubby's friend and office mate M. Happy happy birthday M!!!
Here in the Philippines, perhaps, because we are a poor country, we do not waste any part of the pig's body (or beef or chicken). We cook the head and ears (yummy sizzling sisig), we cook the intestines, the heart, the brain, and yes, we even cook the blood. And we come up with creative ways of cooking these parts. Dinuguan or stewed pig's blood is always a mainstay in menus even if it does not look appetizing. Why? Because it is delicious and healthy. You have got to try it!
I also want to take this opportunity to highlight the diversity of Filipino dishes. This dish is an example of how a different region can cook the same dish. Here in Manila, we usually cook this dish by stewing the pig's blood with pork meat. Then, we add vinegar and chilli. But this dish adds tender beef and uses tamarind leaves as the souring ingredient. According to M, whose mom cooked this delicious dish, this is the only way they (from the Batangas region, south of Manila) would cook this dish.
I confess I have not cooked pig's blood yet. The reason is that being here in mega Manila, we do not know the source of pig's blood that are available in the market. M's mom would only cook this dish from freshly slaughtered pig. This is the only way to ensure that the blood is clean.
But theoretically, I think I know how to cook it. Tenderize the beef meat by boiling and simmering in water for an hour or two. Saute some garlic and onions, add the tenderized beef, and the finger chillies. Then add the blood while passing the blood through a sieve. A lola (grandmother) told me that this is to ensure that there will be no clumps of blood in your dish and the resulting sauce will be smooth and thick. Finally add the tamarind leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
This dish tastes different from the regular dinuguan (stewed pig's blood) we are used to in Manila. It is richer, tastier. Thanks, M!