How To Cook The Best Pork Afritada: A Filipino Dish

The Philippines has been gaining traction for being one of the fastest-growing nations globally in terms of meat consumption. This continuing growth rate has led to the fact that the compound manual growth rate from 2011 to 2021 was predicted to be over 30% per year for pork, chicken, and beef. This developing love for meat is inevitable due to Filipino recipes that make the meat an exceptional cuisine. Pork, chicken, and beef are the center attraction at the dining table.

Filipinos are fond of serving tomato-based dishes on special occasions like birthdays, weddings, fiesta, and other social gatherings. Seldom do we serve such lovely cuisine at home for fear of confusing one with another. Therefore, it is just fitting to help you out on this matter by learning how to cook Pork Afritada. 

More often than not, we often confuse this dish with menudo (pork stew with tomato sauce), mechado (beef stew with tomato sauce), and kaldereta (beef or goat stew with tomato sauce). The resemblance of afritada with those tomato-based recipes is uncanny; that’s why it turns out to be the other dish when you prepare. All the more that you just want to come and visit parties so that you can effortlessly eat your favorite Pork Afritada. 

On that note, we want to save you from the misery by sharing our featured recipe with you. Here, you will not just learn how to make Afritada and try other versions, but you can appreciate it more by knowing the intricacies of its past. So, prepare your pen, paper, and take your notes as you read along.  


What is Pork Afritada Recipe?

For starters, the word fritada means fried in Spanish. This etymology implies that the origin of Pork Afritada would bring us a long way back to the Spanish Rule in the Philippines. Thus, it is these invaders that taught our ancestors how to cook food by frying.   

delicious pork afritada

Initially, frying involved using a few drops of cooking oil just to lubricate the pan enough. By strict application, Pork Afritada means to pan-fry pork (or chicken) and other vegetables before stewing it with tomato sauce.  

Therefore, it is safe to say that this pork dish is from the Spanish influence adapted by the Filipinos in their cooking. But, the version of pork afritada manifests the Filipino concept and a touch of colorful cultural heritage. 

As always, this tomato-based pork dish is a locally developed and maintained recipe, whose cooking techniques have become a legacy that continues from one generation to the next. Thus, Pork Afritada has become the classical savor that the Filipinos will always love and crave. 


What is the Pork Afritada made of?

So much for a little history, what benefits do we get from eating this colorful menu? To know more below is an enumeration and discussion of the pork afritada ingredients.  

chopped bell peppers on a chopping board
(Photo Credits to: povar)
  • Pork – This meat is very sumptuous, but it’s unhealthy to eat so much Pork as a common belief. But with moderation, your cholesterol won’t become a problem at all. But, if you still doubt, you can use chicken as a substitute.  
  • Potatoes – this root crop perfectly blends with the savory pork. Likewise, potatoes are nutritious veggies that can fill your body with essential vitamins and minerals. To name a few, it can boost your immune system and improve your heart health. However, potatoes become unhealthy when you turn this into french fries. To avoid this, do not overcook it in your afritada. Hence, vegetables are better steamed than fried. 
  • Carrots – Like potatoes, carrots are always present in most tomato-based dishes. Also, this root crop is famous for its Beta-carotene, which can convert into Vitamin A, a nutrient for good eyesight. More than that, this veggie has built its reputation for losing weight, lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing cancer risk.   
  • Green and Red Bell Pepper – honestly, it is your choice whether to put green and red bell peppers together or just one of them. Either way, it will add color and, of course, a bit of spice. What makes them unique is their abundance in Vitamin C that can strengthen your immune system, lose weight, improve eyesight, and prevent anemia. 
  • Green Peas – aside from adding flavor, green peas act as garnishing to contribute to the aesthetics when you plate your Afritada. More importantly, it contains a significant amount of fiber and antioxidants that can protect you from chronic lifestyle diseases like cancer and heart ailments.

What is the sauce made of?

Going into more detail, let’s talk about the ingredients of the sauce per se. Remember that the well-blending or mixing of the ingredients listed below is essential for turning this into a masterpiece.  

  • Tomato Sauce – This sauce provides a strong, sweet, and sour taste with a thick feel on the tongue. Hence, tomato sauce completes the Pork Afritada recipe.
  • Tomato Ketchup – if the tomato sauce is scarce or lacking, you may replace it with ketchup because its base component is tomato. Likewise, if you prefer that your sauce is thicker, supplement your tomato sauce with ketchup. 
  • Evaporated Milk – you may mix this kind of Milk to add creaminess into your sauce. Traditionally, this strategy is not employed before until some cooks have discovered that evaporated Milk makes the sauce yummier. 

Ways to cook Pork Afritada

Now, let’s discuss something about how to cook Pork Afritada. Here below are various cooking methods and strategies for you to consider. This information will make you avoid the tendency to become dumbfounded. 

Classic Style 

It is essential to learn the Classic Style Pork Afritada before you improvise because each part has something to do. Once you fully grasp each process’s objective, you can easily make it work in other methods or recipes. Besides, this is the style that has been used for several centuries since the Spanish occupation.

To make this work, saute a lump of well-flavored cube-size pork meat with a mixture of soy sauce, calamansi (lime) extract, and pepper over sliced garlic-onion mixture until it turns brown. You continue the fun by adding water and tomato sauce, placing the sliced carrots and potatoes toward the end. If you want more spice and thicker seasoning, then add bell peppers and dissolved cornstarch. 

Instant Pot 

If you think you’re not that skillful enough in mixing and stirring, then try Instant Pot Pork Afritada. Just make sure you have adequately prepared all the ingredients from flavoring to slicing. And then, you can combine it and place inside an Instant Pot. 

The instant pot technology is like an electric pressure cooker, enabling you to make your dish faster. Plus, you can also use this in reheating leftover food. It is one of the methods or recipes that will save your precious time.

Crockpot 

Another way to get away with sauteing is through Crockpot Pork Afritada. Using a crockpot, follow the same process of making via an instant pot. The significant difference is that the crockpot slowly cooks food at a stable temperature for about 4-5 hours. It is one of the methods or recipes that will demand some of your time.

Expect to savor soft juicy pork meat effortlessly shredding from the bones. Likewise, enjoy shredded pork full of flavor, for it has absorbed well the seasonings. 

Pressure Cooker 

When you can’t afford to have either instant pot or crockpot, neither you wish to tire yourself with sauteing, then you can shift back to the old school Pressure Cooker Pork Afritada. Ensure that you have prepared all the ingredients before placing it inside the equipment.

However, unlike the instant pot or crockpot, there is no automatic time set. Therefore, you need enduring patience in accomplishing this traditional slow preparation method. Besides, after all the hard work, you can already indulge in your afritada viand. It is one of the ways or recipes that will require much of your patience.

Varying Recipes of Pork Afritada

As we go along with the pork afritada dish, it feels hungry, imagining how it cooks based on the given ingredients above. What more if we add these variations that will surely fit and pass with your taste. Take your notes on these exciting variations. 

Pork Afritada with Pineapple

pork afritada with pineapple in a pan
(Photo Credits to: ulule)

Filipino adopted this style of cooking in the Caribbean and Indian sweet and sour taste. Pork Afritada with Pineapple is ideal for making your recipe at its best. The added pineapple is responsible for the fresh burst of flavors and aroma while it simmers when cooking. 

Not to mention, pineapples contain nutritious benefits such as preventing inflammation, reducing the risk of cancer, improving heart health, and fertility among men and women.

With Cheese Recipe

cheese cubes
(Photo Credits to: sm news)

One of the most incredible versions of this recipe is the Pork Afritada with Cheese. The creaminess of cheese adds lusciousness to the sauce. It’s like with the sauce alone you can finish a plate of rice. 

With liver spread Recipe

liver spread in a bowl
(Photo Credits to: rachael ray mag)

If you wish to intensify the meaty taste, try the Pork Afritada with the Liver Spread version. Also, the liver spread makes a thicker consistency of the sauce. Having this kind is like indulging in a double meaty party. 


Troubleshooting

Cooking a high-profile dish, such as Afritada, might expose you to unexpected errors. But, calm down and consider the suggestions below to help you resolve similar issues. 

  • If your pork afritada gets too salty, then add enough sugar.
  • If you think you have too much sauce and it looks like soup already, then cook your pork afritada longer. Heat absorbs the sauce. 
  • If you don’t have potatoes, the best alternative is camote or sweet potato

Trivia

Do many people ask what the difference between afritada with mechado, menudo, and kaldereta is? We cannot blame them because all of the mentioned dishes are almost identical to the tomato-based sauce. Well, for better understanding, let’s layered it off. 

  • Mechado – classically, this recipe usually includes beef as the primary and prominent meat ingredient. Also, afritada dishes use bone-in chicken or bone-in pork pieces, while a normal mechado often uses beef chunks. Meanwhile, both dishes use carrots and potatoes, but mechado does not include bell peppers.
  • Menudo – This dish is also known as ginamay. It is a traditional stew from the Philippines made with the main ingredient, Pork, and liver with tomato sauce with carrots and potatoes. 

In comparison, afritada doesn’t always use Pork’s liver. Plus, the meat slicing is smaller in menudo than in afritada.

  • Kaldereta – Among these four, kaldereta has the thickest sauce. It only uses beef and goat’s meat, unlike the others, which include chicken or pork.

Tips

To improve your cooking of this crimson Afritada dish, pay attention to the following suggestions and incorporate these in your repertoire.   

  • Add evaporated Milk in your pork afritada sauce to make your dish extra creamy.
  • For better taste, you can semi-fry the potatoes and carrots before mixing it with the recipe cooking. However, for those who are health conscious, you can steam it before mixing it to the dish. Steaming reduces excess oil, which might add cholesterol.
  • Mix tomato pastes with your tomato sauce to thicken the stew if you do not like liver spread.

Ideally Served With

For more craving imaginations, a lovely tomato-based dish, such as our featured recipe, can join the banquet, including some notable dishes below. 

stew soup in a bowl
  • Sinigang soup – while sipping the sour taste of its soup, it matches with the salty taste of afritada.
  • Bicol Express – since it is made out of coconut milk, the dish’s creaminess gets better with the salty sauce of afritada. 
  • Crispy Pata – the delicious fatty-taste of pata is better when you dip it with afritada sauce. 
  • Pork Nilaga Soup – if you can’t have sinigang soup, this is a good alternative. 
  • Paksiw na Bangus – like sinigang soup, the sour-taste of it complements the afritada sauce. 
  • Ampalaya con Carne – the bitter taste of ampalaya is suitable for the feeling of afritada. 
  • Fried Chicken – fried food like it makes better with the sauce of afritada.
  • Chop Suey – if you are eating meat like an afritada dish, the real partner is a vegetable dish regardless of what style it is cooked. 
  • Pancit Bihon – on occasion, pancit dishes will often be presented, too. The savory taste of pansit matches the afritada sauce taste.

Conclusion

Based on the highlights, we can generalize that the afritada recipe has passed the test of time. Cooking methods and variants have emerged and evolved to magnify the beauty of this fantastic food. Indeed, it is one of the authentic dishes that Filipinos can indeed be proud of.

Now that you know how to cook the best pork afritada, it is your turn to show what you’ve got! Cook your version of an irresistible dish like this. It’s time to give your family the best treat ever.

For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!

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5 from 1 vote

Superb Pork Afritada Recipe

Pork Afritada is a staple Filipino dish for any festivities, be it a wedding, fiesta, or birthday parties. It is one of the most sought-after recipes you will get to encounter. Make sure to prepare your notebook, and do not forget to add this excellent dish to your list of recipes for future uses!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Pork Recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 370kcal
Cost $5-$20

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Pork shoulder cubed
  • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce
  • 1 cup Tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp Calamansi extract
  • 2 pcs Potatoes wedged
  • 1 pc Carrot wedged
  • 1 pc Red bell pepper wedged
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 pc Onion diced
  • 1 tbsp Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Cooking oil

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine pork, soy sauce, calamansi extract and pepper. Mix well then set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, saute garlic and onion until brown.
  • Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes until the meat turns brown.
  • Then pour-in tomato sauce and water.
  • Cover the pan and let it boil for 45 minutes over low medium heat.
  • Put-in potatoes and carrot, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Add the bell pepper and melted cornstarch. Stir and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Serve while hot!

Nutrition

Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 1215mg | Potassium: 622mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 307IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg
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