Philippine cuisines possess a wide array of indigenous and foreign adapted or inspired dishes. These dishes are on the saucy side and commonly appear in many of our festivities like a fiesta, weddings, birthday parties, and graduation. One of which is our featured dish for today, foreign-sounding but very Pinoy at its core.
This dish is a pork-based stew made of big chunks of pig’s meat, carrots, saging na saba (plantain), sweet soy sauce, and vinegar-based sauce. You may think that this is similar to Adobo, another trademark Filipino offering. Still, this dish has a sweeter flavor profile because of the banana. Banana is not present in any Adobo variation giving it a clear distinction from the latter. Estofado is not the usual viand made at home on regular days but usually served during special occasions.
Preparing our guest dish for today is relatively simple contrary to its somewhat intimidating name. And surprising your families and loved ones by serving them this festive dish on regular days can be genuinely surprising. So it is our joy to share with you the things you need to know about making this highlighted dish and making mealtime an event your families will always enjoy.
What Is This Featured Filipino Recipe
Estofado might have come from two Spanish culinary terms, estofado and estofar. The first one means to stew and can refer to pork or beef; however, European dishes prefer using the other one. Estofar, on the other hand, means to braise in a covered pan. When referring to the Pinoy dish, the first method is employed, mainly because of its simplicity.
This dish is a fusion of two different cultural influences, the traditional Spanish cooking method of stewing pieces of pig’s flesh with chunks of vegetables hence the name, and the use of Chinese condiment, soy sauce’s base. This dish is not to be confused with Adobo, though they may look similar. The use of plantain, a variety of banana commonly used for making savory dishes and soups, spells the difference between them.
Another difference this dish has from the typical Adobo is the tomato and the use of tomato sauce. The zest and tang coming from the tomatoes gives this dish a rich and bolder flavor, a technique we learned from the Spaniards. Brown sugar also gives it that hint of sweetness that completes the complex character of this European-inspired delicacy.
Regional variations have been made to Estofado as well, depending on the province that it’s been made. The Northern and Central parts of Luzon employ the traditional method and ingredients. While in the Visayas region, especially in Iloilo and Capiz, carrots, tomato, and tomato sauce are omitted. Muscovado sugar is used instead of the regular brown sugar, giving the dish a darker caramel appearance and an even sweeter flavor profile.
Like its cousin Adobo, our dish is undoubtedly a well-loved dish, proven by the fact that every province has its take on it. Versatility and simplicity are the main selling point of this dish as different kinds of flesh can be used, such as chicken and beef. Duck can also be used for a more adventurous twist.
Ways To Cook The Best Estofadong Baboy
This dish is a perfect meal to share with family and a treat that will be enjoyed and loved by adults and kids. So we listed down some of the means you can use to perform this recipe at home. Considering the difference in lifestyle, we noted down also methods suited for people who are always on the go.
As the name implies, this is the authentic way of preparing this dish. The plantain is cut in half, then fried, and set aside. Then the cuts of pig’s flesh are sauteed with the remaining ingredients. Then the whole mixture is simmered until all the ingredients are tender. The plantain is added last to let its sweetness seep into the dish and prevent it from becoming mushy.
If you have an ample amount of time to prepare, consider using this method to prepare your dish. Saute the pig’s flesh cuts in advance, browning the skin lightly to extract the flavors from it. You can then saute the rest of the ingredients, allowing the dish to finish slowly until the meat is tender. This particular method allows the flavor to come out entirely from the elements and envelope every strand of the flesh for a more concentrated flavor.
Using pressure is a sure way of tenderizing your ingredients for the shortest amount of time. And if you’re the kind of person who isn’t a fan of waiting for something to prepare for an extended period, then this is highly suggested for you.
Saute the pork cuts in the ingredients, then bring the dish to simmer. Then put the pre-tender cut flesh into the device and let it until it is tender. Then put in the fried plantain and remove from heat to prevent the bananas from being soggy or mushy.
This method is the easiest compared to the others mentioned above. It will only require you to put in the ingredients all at once and wait for it to be done. Brown the pork cut slightly to allow the juices to be locked into the flesh. With the rest of the ingredients, put the browned pieces of it into the pot. Please wait for it to be done thoroughly.
Top Variations Of Recipes
Because of the simplicity of the ingredients needed for this particular dish, innovations can be made to level up this dish. Here are some of the variations that you can try to present this dish in an entirely easy and different way.
Recipes With Potatoes
Let’s start with potato, a very versatile root crop that is incorporated with many savory dishes. The potato’s bland taste acts as a sponge for the rich flavor of the Estofado, making it a perfect extender for the dish.
Lightly fry the potatoes and bananas first before putting them in with all the other ingredients. Using potatoes for dishes not only adds richness but also adds volume to the entire dish. The starch coming from the potato also helps in thickening the texture.
Pineapple, when added to savory dishes, adds zest and a mild hint of sweetness. The acidity of it helps to cut down on the greasy aftertaste of the pork. Proceed with the instructions as indicated, but this time we suggest reducing the amount of sugar in half as per the directions. The pineapple’s sweetness will compensate for the sugar, and if you used canned pineapple, putting in the juice is also a great addition to the dish.
Estofadong Ilonggo Recipes ( Iloilo variant)
This particular variant of Estofadong Baboy is famous in Iloilo, especially in the province’s northern parts. This variation of the dish requires a three-part cooking process, and the first part is marinating the flesh in spices and condiments. And instead of the usual carrot, potatoes are used instead. Plantain (banana variant) is also used but should be fried beforehand.
The second part of the process is stewing the marinated pig’s flesh until tender, making sure that the marinade doesn’t dry up by gradually adding water. Fry it lightly after simmering, setting aside the marinade for the meantime.
After frying, incorporate the marinade into the pork, adding muscovado sugar until the dish’s texture thickens; this would be the last part of the process. Before serving, add the fried potatoes and plantain and stir them. This estofado variant is a sure hit for people who are fond of sweet and savory dishes.
Chicken Estofado Recipes
If you’re not a fan of pork or beef, poultry meat can be used as well. We suggest using the fleshy part, preferably thigh and chicken breast, to fully absorb the flavor. Fry the chicken until the skin changes color, then saute them with the rest of the ingredients and simmer until done. We can say that this is a healthier version of the dish with the omission of the pork. Just make sure to simmer the chicken longer to ensure that the flavors are locked into the flesh.
Good Estofadong Baka Recipes ( Beef Estofado)
If you have a bit of a budget and want to splurge yourself or your loved ones on a pricey meal, then this dish is cut out for you. Beef is more expensive than pork and chicken, so it is not common for a household to serve them regularly. The process is the same, but it requires a shorter amount of time to finish as beef is naturally more tender than pork.
Mishaps in the kitchen sometimes happen, which is a part of the learning process; admittedly, chefs are no exemption. Should you encounter these mishaps, we listed some troubleshooting steps that you can try to fix them.
- Too saucy
If your dish becomes too saucy, try adding a few plantain slices. That way, the plantain will absorb the excess while adding sweetness and thickening the texture due to its starch content.
- Strong acidic flavor
This problem might be due to the tomato sauce, as it can be overpowering when too much is used. To remedy this dilemma, add a tablespoon or two of sugar to reduce the dish’s acidity.
- Too runny
It is somewhat a minor issue when making any saucy dishes, particularly Estofado. To thicken it, add a slurry of a tablespoon of flour and half a water cup. Not only does it thicken, but it also gives the dish a glossy finish.
Knowing fun facts and health benefits of what we are eating is another way of appreciating it even more. As a treat, we listed some of them here, and they are as follows.
- Plantains, a variety of banana, is rich in potassium, helping in muscle contractions and nerve signals. It also aids in balancing our bodily fluids. It is also rich in dietary fibers.
- Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is good for your heart and effective against certain cancers.
- Stews, the method used for this dish, has been used since ancient times. The oldest evidence of this has been found in Japan.
Being in charge in the kitchen can sometimes be a hit or miss situation, especially if you learn your first few dishes. So if you have your eyes on making this dish, we have listed some tips to help you lessen the chances of committing mistakes in preparing this dish. We hope that these tips will be useful for you in the future.
- Plantain is a firm variety of banana, but it can still be mushy if overdone. So fry the bananas beforehand and put them only in the mixture just minutes before it gets thoroughly done. This way, you can retain the firm texture of the plantain.
- For tastier flavor, avoid using bony parts of pork for this dish. We suggest that you use leaner cuts of pork, such as loin and pork belly. These cuts possess a smaller concentration of bones and a lot more fat than the rest of the cuts, which will add more flavor to our highlighted dish.
- For a heartier serving, add potatoes aside from the carrots. The starch of the potatoes helps in thickening the texture as well. Be sure to fry them first before adding them in along with the plantain and carrots.
Other Recipes Perfect To Serve With
Partnering this dish with other recipes is another way of enjoying this treat, so we’ve noted down some of them that you can try for a fuller culinary experience of our featured dish.
A warm plate of plain rice is indeed the perfect canvass for this culinary masterpiece. Having this combo will make you enjoy a decadent dinner meal.
It is not common for us Filipinos to eat viands with bread, but hey, if you’re feeling a bit of a European today, then, by all means, do so. The creamy and flavorful dish is the perfect partner for a slice of garlic or white bread, like seeing them in the movies.
Salads balance out the richness of our dish. Its greens’ fresh taste helps clean the palates of the greasy aftertaste of the dish after your lunch or dinner.
This particular dish is not just limited to what we have shared with you in this blog. With a creative mind and resourcefulness, we hope you will use the information included in this article for your next culinary activity to impress your loved ones. And it will be our joy and fulfillment if you will add this menu to your arsenal of culinary knowledge.
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Estofadong Baboy Recipe
- 1 lb Pork Meat
- 2 pcs Banana (Saba) quartered
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 3 pcs Tomatoes sliced
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp Fish sauce
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Cooking Oil
- 2 tbsp Tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Fish sauce
- Heat oil in a pan. Fry the banana until golden brown. Set aside.
- On the same pan and oil, sauté garlic, onion and tomatoes. Stir until tomatoes are all cooked.
- Add the pork, black pepper, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir well then cover the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Then add tomato sauce and vinegar. You can add more water if the pork is not yet tender.
- Add the sugar and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Serve while hot!