Filipinos love to eat saucy meals made out of meat. This reality is especially true when the dish is made out of pig’s meat. It is in-demand in almost all dining tables across the country. Saucy meals will always be a hit for us. That’s why many Filipino dishes are made with these sauces, such as Menudo, Kaldereta, Asado, Mechado, and more. Today, let us help you discover another saucy dish that you will love, too. Let’s help you learn how to cook humba!
If you are familiar with adobo, one of Filipinos’ iconic dishes, humba, is similar, but humba has more added ingredients. Adding more stuff means adding more flavors that make it so delicious. This article will show you the distinctions of this dish to others and how it started creating its name for Filipino and foreign cuisines.
Nowadays, wherein almost all people love to eat, humba is a great meal you can share with your family and loved ones, especially if you have parties or gatherings. It is one of the recipes that will surely stand out the moment it burst into your mouth. Who would not like it as you see the different variations and ways to cook it. Let’s get it on!
What Is Pork Humba
Humba can use chicken or pig’s meat as the main ingredient, but pig’s meat is more often to cook. Humba is usually likened to adobo, another Filipino dish, because they have a similarity of how it prepares and somehow, to the taste. Humba, however, has a mildly sweet taste from the addition of brown sugar and pineapple.
In this sweeter and fattier localized version, pork belly is slow-cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, pineapple juice, and aromatics such as garlic and onions peppercorn, and bay leaves. When the meat was falling apart and tendered, brown sugar, fermented black beans, and dried banana blossoms added an extra depth of flavor and texture.
As mentioned above, it is typically made with pig’s meat, and the most common cut used is the belly or so-called liempo. If this is not available, you can also use the pig’’s leg, hocks, and sometimes shoulder.
Where Does Pork Humba Originate
It is safe to say that this dish’s derivative originated from Chinese hong-ba (also known as Hong-Shao-Rou or red braised pork belly). It is believed that Humba was introduced by Chinese immigrants and was adapted by Filipinos.
From that, the meal is further improved by Filipino folks, specifically, the Visayan and southern regions of the country. They were inspired to innovate this dish and replace some of the ingredients. They omitted Shaoxing wine and other spices and replaced it with the easier-to-find local elements. Also, they started to use tausi instead of ginger.
Besides, like most Filipino stews, Humba (Visayan Version) is usually served as a main entree, with piping-hot steamed rice as the perfect canvas for its sweet and savory meat and sauce.
What Is Humba Made Of
To get the authentic humba taste, these are the essential ingredients that you have to blend well to achieve an addictive flavor.
- Pork – You can also use chicken as your main ingredient, but many like pig’s meat. People say that it is better with the sauce taste. It should be boiled first before marinating and sauteing. The pork belly, which usually has the right amount of fats, is first seared to render the fats. While searing, remove the scums coming from the fats of pig’s meat. It is simmered until tender, marinate and cook again as a finale. Pork belly is not only delicious but brings excellent health benefits, too. It offers high-quality proteins from the lean cut and substantial micronutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins and minerals that help us be more durable and healthier. It’s a positive thing that we use this part of the meat in our dish.
- Garlic – because our featured dish has an intense mixed flavor, garlic will be essential. Garlic is a versatile herb that pairs well with most spices and seasoning present in humba. Garlic also helps balance the taste of this humba, significantly if you added fatty part of the pig’s meat because it is low in calories. The active compounds of garlic can also improve cholesterol levels and lower the risk of having heart diseases. Thanks to garlic, you can now eat fatty pork’s fat moderately.
- Onion -since humba is a stew, we advise you to use yellow onions as they add intense flavor to most stews. When humba recipes call for onion, yellow onion is a safe way to go. Thus, onion can supply a range of umami flavors for this dish, which you need to get through roasting the ingredient meat.
- Bay leaves – this is also common to use in any stew or saucy dishes like humba. Fried or dried bay leaves are used for their distinctive flavor to enhance the dish’s aroma. When bay leaves are infused into the sauce mixture, and almost minty flavor will develop. They also add subtle bitterness that keeps humba flavorful.
- Peppercorn – using peppercorns gives a lingering flavor to your humba. It is valuable for many reasons. One of them is to liven up and give a kick to dishes that were somewhat tasteless and not very appealing. It also contributes to maintaining its taste and freshness.
- Sugar – the brown sugar is used for making your humba. It gives a warm spice and a hint of caramelized essence of taste and aroma that a white sugar counterpart can’t offer. It also helps the sauce to achieve the desired sticky texture. You can adjust the suggested sweetness depending on your sweetness preference.
- Oregano – it is commonly used for saucy dishes to extend flavors and aroma. In humba, it is combined with olive oil during sauteing to create powerful oregano-oil.
- Banana Flower – they also called it a “banana blossom.” Either way, it is found in humba to hive chunky and flaky texture in the dish. It gives extra taste to your humba recipes as well.
- Tausi – black beans or “tausi” is another essential ingredient in making recipes, especially the Philippines’ Visayan version. They introduced this ingredient for making humba because the salty taste of the tausi gives additional flavor.
- Salt and Peppers – although they are often lumped together, Salt and pepper have little in common. Salt is seasoned, and taste, pepper is for the spices. Salt enhances the flavor while pepper adds flavor. These two are necessary for making stews like humba.
What Is The Sauce Made Of
The braising liquid is the marinade of your humba pork and eventually will be the sauce after the final making process. So, you must get the right blend.
- Soy Sauce – It is another ingredient that should be present in your humba dish. If you want to taste your humba near to adobo, use Filipino-style soy sauce. However, it’s okay to substitute for any regular soy sauce to achieve the desired saltiness it can give. Despite a high sodium content, soy sauce can still be enjoyed as part of your healthy diet. The secret is that don’t overuse it as a condiment instead of only consuming it per suggested amount.
- Vinegar – this is responsible for giving the sourness for your humba. White rice vinegar, cane vinegar, coconut vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are superb options.
- Pineapple Juice – the concentrate pineapple juice makes your humba different and unique from other dishes. It goes well with the pig’s meat, and especially with the sweet and sour sauce. It helps to enhance the savory taste of humba that makes it very delicious.
- Water – to balance the taste of your braising liquid or marinade, you must pour water on it. It serves as the primary solvent of all liquid ingredients.
Ways To Cook The Pork Humba
Humba pork is a meal that is ideally shared with family and friends. However, you can still make it at home even without occasions. That’s why we listed down all ways to cook it to ensure that you have options.
Pork Humba stew is one of the most sought-after recipes. It is the most traditional way to cook humba. You will skip the boiling and marinating process in this culinary style because you will already proceed to the sauteing. After you sauteed garlic and onion, that’s the time that you will tenderize your pork belly. Afterward, you will put all the braising liquid and seasonings. Stewing improves more and equalizes the flavors naturally coming from the ingredients. It requires a lot of patience to soften the meat because you didn’t boil it before putting it in its sauce. Indeed, this way of making is for those who are in a hurry.
If you are not in a rush, this is the time you can do this style of food making. It is one of the time-consuming humba recipes. Slow-cooking your dish means adding steps on how it cooks. So, adding steps means a longer time of preparation. Don’t worry because no matter how long it takes, it’s always worth waiting. Here, you have to boil first the pork to tenderize. While boiling, the scums will eventually float, so remove it. Afterward, marinate it with braising liquid. It is when you will let the meat absorb the seasonings to achieve the desired flavors and aroma. You can make it marinate for at least 30 to 1 hour. Finally, you can saute garlic and onion; and then put your meat, braising liquid, seasonings and cook to perfection. The difference of this style on stews is that you let it absorb the marinade for a longer time, and that’s what makes it tastier than the previous cooking way.
Oven-baked humba is one of the most sophisticated recipes. It is an excellent way of food making. Because the meat here is almost melting and falling apart, it depends on you if you want it to boil and marinate first before the final food-making process. What matters is that the last method would be oven-baked. You may ask how long it takes to cook in the oven. Well don’t take it for too long, 30 minutes is enough.
Dried Best Humba Pork (Braised Pork Belly)
The description of this variation is almost identical if you compare it with the classic and original version. The main difference is that this variant is sauceless. But it doesn’t mean that this is one of the recipes that will be tasteless. You will just let the meat absorb the marinade or braising liquid while simmering. Don’t add much water to dry the mixture faster. Thus, dried pork humba is a way of food preparation in which the meat has to absorb the marinade until it dries up; this will make the meat more flavorful from inside-out.
These are the varying recipes and styles you can choose to make your food more delicious and for you to have more ingredients to look forward to as it complements the taste of humba.
- Humba Pork with Potatoes – first on the list is adding potatoes to your dish. They are a good source of nearly half of your daily vitamin C value and more potassium content than bananas. These elements are vital to keeping our bodies healthy. It’s a good thing that we can put it on the dish. Just slice it and pour it when the mixture is already simmering or boiling. Undeniably, the presence of potatoes in almost all recipes makes it tastier.
- Humba Pork with Hard Boiled Eggs – Kids will love this because of most of them like it, whether boiled or sunny-side-up. Ready your egg boiled and crack it before putting in the mixture. You can add it while the humba is boiling or after it is cooked. Boiled eggs serve as additional toppings that better with the given sauce.
- Humba Pork with Roasted Peanuts – Some add roasted peanuts to garnish their humba. It adds a nutty flavor that is suited to the taste of the sauces. You should add it when your dish is boiling and almost cooked.
- Humba Pork with Fried Banana – Saging na saba or Saba banana is used here. It is fried first then put as a garnish of the cooked humba. It gives a natural sweet taste to the recipe, perfect with the provided sauce. Recipes with fried banana look sophisticated.
- Humba Pork with Sprite – To give more intense flavor, add a sprite soda to your dish. It serves as an additional braising liquid, too. You can put it on whether your dish is a stew or slow-cooked.
- If you didn’t get the sauce’s desired dense texture, bring it to boil again, then add all-purpose flour or cornstarch to the mixture. Mix well until dissolved. Continue the making process.
To make your humba more remarkable, these are the tips that you can use in preparing and making them.
- Ensure that you will rinse the tausi after buying and drain well because they are usually packed in a salty brine to preserve shelf life.
- If you cannot find pineapple juice alone, you can also use a can of pineapple. The liquid in a can of pineapples is what you’ll use to braise the meat, making sure the fruit is packed in juice and not heavy syrup.
- Use brown sugar and not white one to sweeten the dish. It has a slightly less concentrated sweetness and contains molasses, enhancing the rich flavor of the sauce. You can also use palm sugar, if available.
- Do not marinate the meat for more than 8 hours as the acidity of the vinegar and pineapple juice will break down the meat’s protein fibers, altering the texture.
- While you can combine everything in one step, take the extra effort of browning the pork belly. Searing over high heat caramelizes the meat’s surface, which enriches the dish with more complex flavors.
- Cook low and slow to allow the fat to render and the harsh, connective tissues to soften to melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.
Ideally Served With
Humba pork is versatile since it can jive with other recipes. As such, here are the suggestions of things you can add to your humba.
- Warm rice – nothing beats a meal partner with warm rice. The sauce of humba is an excellent match for the rice. What more is the meat of humba? Yummy!
- Sinigang Soup – slurping your sinigang soup makes it better if you have a humba meal.
- Fried chicken: The savory taste of fried chicken makes it your favorite, especially if you dip it with the sauce of humba.
- Chicharon – crunchy and tasty that is how you described chicharon. Try to dip it with the sauce of humba and get a finger-licking gastronomic flavor!
- Soft drinks: After eating, the ultimate partner to drink is soft drinks, but always remember to drink it with moderation as soft drinks contain a lot of sugar.
Humba is a delicious medley of sweet and savory flavors that you’ll love with steamed rice! This dish is an excellent example of an authentic dish you can have for all seasons. One of the most excellent perks of making this dish is to save money because you can cook it at home without spending a lot to eat out.
Nonetheless, you don’t have to go far to have a competitive dish like this. Now that you know all the preparation tips, variations, and ways on how to cook the superb humba version, it is your time to give us your feedback by making it, too. The delicious and healthy humba meal is now in your hands.
For more recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Superb Humbang Pata ng Baboy Cooking Instruction
- 1 pc Pig's leg cut into circles
- 1/2 cup Soy sauce
- 5 cloves Garlic crushed
- 1 pc Onion cubed
- 1 pc Bay leaf
- 1 tsp Peppercorn
- 1/2 cup Vinegar
- 3/4 cup Brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Dry oregano
- 1/2 cup Dry banana flower
- 3 pcs Whole cloves
- 4 cups Water
- In a casserole, combine pig's leg with other dry ingredients like oregano, banana blossom, bay leaf, whole cloves, onion and garlic.
- Then pour-in water, vinegar, and soy sauce. Cover the casserole and cook for about 1 hour.Note: Lower the heat when boiling.
- Wait until the pata is tender. Then add sugar and cook again for another 30 minutes over low heat.
- Serve while hot! Enjoy.