Pork Tocino is one of the favorite dishes of Filipinos, especially for breakfast. They usually serve it with garlic rice, a sunny side up egg, and a cup of hot coffee. Most of the kids love this dish because it has a sweet flavor and soft texture. They even demand it in their lunch boxes.
It might also look easy to cook, but there are some instructions that you need to follow to achieve the right preparation of this dish—the right level of the fire plays a big part in cooking this Tocino. Because if you force it to prepare with high heat, it tends to burn this dish’s sugar content instantly. Besides, don't forget that this dish also needs to tenderize. It might become tough in high heat.
Tocino is a cured process meat in preservatives and flavoring mixture. Some of them have a pinkish-red color. It has a balanced taste of sweetness and saltiness that everyone can enjoy. Besides, you can try to dip it in soy sauce and calamansi with chili mixture. You can also have ketchup like kids always do, to partner this Tocino dish. Both of these dipping sauces can have a better combination that may keep you eating this dish more.
Moreover, to learn more about this dish, keep on navigating this information to prepare this course. And discover more exciting and informative knowledge that you can get from this Tocino dish. Without hesitation, let’s get started!
What is Pork Tocino Recipe?
Tocino is bacon in Spanish. Typically, they use pork belly that cuts into cubes as primary ingredients in making this kind of dish. On the other hand, Caribbean countries like Cuba and Puerto Rico use pork fatback for their Tocino version. They simply fry it until it turns to a crispy dish. It’s neither cured nor smoked but fried. Somehow it is like French cuisine’s lardons (small strip fatty bacon).
In the Philippines, it is a sweetened and cured pork belly. They slice it into thin strips and put anise wine, annatto, water, sweetener, and salt mixture. They sprinkled it in the meat one by one to balance the flavor in each part of the slice. Then, they put it in a clean, separate container and cure it for about three days in the refrigerator.
Traditionally, they boil it to tenderize the meat and wait until the water evaporates utterly, then add cooking oil to fry it completely. Also, there are some cases where the fats from the belly come out. That is why you don't need to add more oil; you can fry it on its natural oil. They also use low heat in this procedure because the Tocino mixture can quickly burn. If that happens, the sweetness of this dish can turn into a bitter taste.
Initially, the original marination of Tocino is by putting salt, sweetener, and Salitre ( Saltpetre). You can also add pineapple juice to give some tart flavor to your marinated meat. On the other hand, people in Pampanga, a place in the Philippines, have a version of Tocino that is not particular in some individuals. They mix their recipes over four to six hours to make it tender and thick. After that, they leave it at room temperature overnight. Then they can serve it as fermented pork.
Furthermore, did you know that the Home of Tocino in the Philippines is the Pampanga? Yes, that’s right. Way back in 1967, Kapampangan woman Lolita Hizon invented the Filipino Best Pork Tocino. History happens when the neighbor of Hizon gives her a piece of pork meat. She marinades it with the seasoning that is present in her kitchen. Surprisingly, she successfully creates a delightful mixture. Thus, it is the birth of Tocino in the Philippines.
Moreover, in Venezuela, they call it Tocineta. They use almost fat meat and cut it into cubes then salted. Spanish people add this version of Tocino in their traditional recipes like Cocido to add more flavor and saltiness.
On the contrary, in America, they use only the taste of the Tocino as a flavor for their spam production. They doest produce an actual procedure of this dish, but their version adds the taste of their canned product.
Hence, even though there are a lot of versions of these recipes. We can’t avoid the fact that these recipes have a beautiful voice in the market. Its unique taste and procedure become a hit in different places in the world. It leaves an extraordinary impression on every person who experiences this dish’s flavor even at this moment.
Notably, if you want to know how to make a version of these recipes, look at the information we will give you upon navigating. Here are some of the ingredients that you need to marinade this Tocino dish. We include some information to help you understand each element’s purpose in the preparation of this dish.
What are the elements that you need in the Marinading of Pork Tocino?
The combination of the seasoning and flavor is the prime priority in marinating any dish. You need to balance each flavoring’s taste to have an excellent result, for example, in the Tocino dish. Each of these integral flavorings can affect the taste of this dish.
The right amount of each of them can develop an excellent savory effect. The contrasting taste from each element can complement each other to bring this dish to the second level. To learn more about it, take a look at the following aspects;
- Meat - in preparing this dish, having an excellent cut of meat is essential. You can use pork shoulder and ham because it has the quality of having a meat-fat ratio. Using meat for these recipes has optional preferences.
If you want to have less fat and a leaner cut, you can use the pig’s tenderloin part. If you’re going to have a fatter version, pork belly is the foremost choice for you. Thus, any piece of the meat will do, but the most important is the taste you can put in any bacon cuts.
Moreover, be sure that you slice your meat into thin pieces. Because lean cuts can easily absorb the seasoning in a short period, the thicker needs more time to incorporate the flavor inside. Besides, it might raise a problem in cooking if you have a thick slice of meat. It might consume a long time to reach the center of the portion to cook it perfectly.
- Sea Salt - it is the crystallization of the sea and the ocean water. It is more substantial than iodized salt. Besides, it came from natural resources and didn’t have a chemical substance. It slows down microbial growth and reduces moisture, which can lessen the meat’s possibility to spoil in a short period.
You can also use it as an additional flavor to any dish that you want to cook. Also, it has an extraordinary benefit to your body because it contains nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and iron.
- Prague Powder #1- is an agent in curing a different kind of meat like this Pork dish. It has an extra level of protection when preserving meat. Also, it can prevent the growth of bacteria that can result in an easy spoliation of food.
Powder #1 has a pinkish-red color with a unique taste and processed food. It is a combination of sodium chloride and sodium nitrite that has a fantastic effect on the curing process.
Are you wondering why Prague powder has a significant number? It is because it refers to the preserving level of the dish. Having Prague powder #1 means that the preservation period will last for less than 30 days. Another extent is the #2 Prague Powder that lasts for more than 30 days of preservation and meat curing.
- Sugar ( granulated white sweetener) - is the cause of the sweeter taste of the Tocino brine. It is the reason why most of the kids love this recipe. It builds a candy-like flavor to the meat and keeps the people addicted to its taste.
It can give sweetness to your dish and also enhances the presentation of your courses. It can provide a shiny effect on your meal because of the sugar’s caramelization while frying. The sweetness of it can complement the saltiness flavor and result in an outstanding savory taste that can ease your craving for this dish.
- Sodium Phosphate - having this element in your cured dish keeps it stabilizing the pH levels yet extending the pork meat’s preservation life while enhancing the taste. You just news a teaspoon of it to maintain the freshly-made taste of your processed meat. It can also help achieve a soft texture and thickens the brine by preventing water separation from seasoning and other additives.
- Anisette Liquor - has an alcohol content and use as a seasoning in preserving meat. It has a sweet, sharp, and licorice-taste. It is from Anise seed; that is why you can call it Anise Liquor also. This liquor also has a natural flavoring and meat tenderizer effect when you pour it into your mixture. You can include it in making beer flavoring along with making a variety of European confectionaries.
- Pineapple Juice - aside from having it as a refreshment drink, you can also use it as an additional flavor in your dish. Also, it has nutrients that can benefit your health, most especially your body. It contains an enzyme, bromelain, which digest proteins like collagen, yet, it can form your meat soft and tender.
- Garlic - is one of the most useful vegetables in cooking any dishes. It has a nutty, intense aroma and has a unique flavor that makes your dish delicious. But, did you know that you can include this in preserving meat? Yes, that’s right. In curing meat, garlic can equalize the sweetness and the tanginess of the other liquor and flavoring you put as a mixture.
Garlic contains different nutrients that are excellent in your body. It has a lot of nutritional value in just one teaspoon serving. That includes the following:
- Protein: 0.18 grams
- Fat: 0.01 grams
- Fiber: 0.1 grams
- Carbohydrates: 0.93 grams
- Glucose: 0.03 grams
- Iron: 0.05 mg
- Calcium: 5 mg
- Potassium: 11 mg
- Magnesium: 1 mg
- Vitamin C: 0.9 mg
- Calories: 4
It might be small, but it contains a lot of nutrients that you need. Besides, it can help your processed meat to have a delightful taste day by day of its preservation time.
- Garlic Powder - unlike the fresh garlic vegetable, it has a lesser aroma, and it has a sweet and salty taste. It is from the dehydrated garlic and salt and a typical spice mix component. It can be your alternative if you don't have the fresh one or don't like the real garlic’s strong flavor.
- Vitamin C Powder - for some reason, it has an extensive reputation in preserving process foods. Ascorbic acid is the name that this compound is known. In every curing process, they put some of it to increase the mixture’s vitamin C content. It also serves as the tenderizer of your meat.
- Red coloring - most of the time, when someone is curing some meat, they also put color into it to make it more attractive, like this Tocino dish. In the replacement for artificial coloring, they put ground annatto seed in their mixture. You can also use the whole annatto seed if you don't have ground. You just need to put hot water into it and soak it in some time to release its natural color. It has a natural color that can intensify the shade of your dish.
Proper Procedure in cooking This Homemade Recipe
In cooking your homemade dishes, you need to be sure that you know the necessary preparation. In that way, you can avoid any problem that might affect your procedure. To give you some information, here is the proper way to cook this dish. Following these guidelines can give you an excellent outcome.
- In a pan, put your mixture with the right amount of water that can cover it entirely. If it doesn't have a much more fat portion, you can add three tablespoons of cooking oil to stimulate your dish’s fat. If you have liempo Tocino, you don't need to consider cooking oil in the mixture because liempo can release more oil while cooking.
Set to boil your dish and let uncover the pan until the water evaporates completely.
- After the water dries out, fry the meat to its remaining oil and wait until it caramelizes. Ensure that you turn your fire to a lower level because it might burn as the dish’s sugar cooks completely. You can also stir it slowly to balance the cooking process in each portion of your meat.
If you want some kick in your mixture, you can add some fresh ground chili into it a minute before it cooks thoroughly. After that, you can serve it to your family and friends. And enjoy the delicious taste of your course.
Preparing recipes is not simple at all, especially for beginners. For some reason, some of the individuals come across different instances in their kitchen. To give you hope, we provide some solutions that might help you to resolve those concerns. Below is some case in point with the solution included.
- Too salty - not all people know how to estimate the right amount of salt in their courses. That is why it becomes saline. The better remedy for that is to add some pineapple chunks. It can lessen the saltiness of your dish with the help of its juices and sweet taste.
You can also serve it with vinegar dipping sauce. Adding chili can also help adults that eat it. Ketchup can also take part in kids.
- Too dry and tough - if you face this problem, the better solution is to bring back your dish into the pan, then put some pineapple slurry that consists of one cup ao pineapple juice and one tablespoon of cornstarch. Bring it to boil and stir it from time to time. Wait for it for five minutes, and you can serve it again. You can achieve a soft and tender texture, and at the same time, you bring your dish to another level of savory taste.
- Too bland - if your mixture has not enough flavor, you can also add some components to turn it into a delightful dish that everyone can enjoy. The better way is to bring back it to your pan, add the pineapple juice with added sweetener, and bring it to boil in enough time to evaporate entirely and leave the savory flavor into the meat. That way, you can achieve the taste that you want.
Spanish culinary seed of making this dish spread around the world. As a result, many countries like Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America develop their version. Theoretically, the Philippines has the most famous version of Tocino because this dish has an excellent reputation in the market all over the country.
The Chinese Char Siu and Western bacon’s culinary mashup, the Spanish colonial era’s residue, involves uniquely Filipino cuisine skillfully balances the sweet and savory tastes. It produces a perfect combination with rice and sunny side up egg for breakfast. Besides, you can have it as pulutan alongside a bottle of ice-cold beer on your happy hour.
Moreover, did you know that Tocino is one of Sandara Park’s favorite meals in the Philippines? If you are not familiar with her, she is a Korean Idol/Actress/Model/Endorser, in short, a famous Korean all over the world. Before she achieved her popularity, she formerly lived in the Philippines for so many years and became an actress. That is why she knows what a Tocino is.
When she goes back to Korea, she always mentioned that her favorite Filipino dish is Tocino, aside from Sinigang. She even introduced this dish to her friends when she had a vacation in the Philippines. She loves to dip it in soy sauce with calamansi and chili, the most typical dip that the Filipinos like with their Tocino dish.
Furthermore, in the Philippines, especially in Pampanga, there are two variations of similar cured meat for Tocino, and they call it Pindang. These two are Pindang Babi (Pork Pindang) and Pindang Damulag (Carabao Meat Pindang). These two ferments in a very long time so that the locals have a meal when the calamities and drought occur.
The preparation of this kind of processed food is more decisive than you think. You need to achieve the perfect taste and flavor of it by the seasoning that might not be easy to find, but you can replace it with an alternative flavoring. But you need to ensure the right measurement and accurate counts of every compound you need to put in your mixture. Thus, here are some informative cooking tips that can help you with that matter.
The better way to produce a perfectly soft and tender Tocino is to mix your formula manually in an hour for the meat to absorb every flavor you put in your mixture. After some period, repeat the procedure a couple of times before you completely store it in your refrigerator.
You better place your mixture in an airtight container to ensure that no air can affect your mixture’s moisture. The maximum period of setting in of the flavor inside your meat is within three days only. After that, you can put it in the freezer and cook it anytime you want. If you put it earlier or later, it might affect your meal’s taste and texture. A small wrong move can affect your entire dish. That is why you need more attention and patience in making this kind of preparation.
Moreover, there is no assurance in making this course with alternative components with the same taste as the original dish. But somehow, it can still be a lesser and light flavor close to the authentic one.
You can try the pineapple juice, salt, sweetener, and star anise for an efficient and straightforward mixture. But take note that you only need it to marinate overnight and cook it afterward because this alternative can last longer than the original mix.
Best served with
This course has a perfect impression when you pair it with other dishes. It is an exciting thing to do when you want to discover the different sides of this course. To understand it more, we provide some other dishes with outstanding chemistry in our star dish today, Tocino. We hope you also try it to experience the incredible flavor of each of these dishes that can share with this dish.
- Garlic Rice - it is the typical partner of this recipe, especially in the morning. The savory taste of the fried garlic merges with the sweet taste of the Tocino. They complement each other and bring a delicious effect to keep you from eating more.
- Fried egg - is a perfect match in your sweet and tasty Tocino. The sunny side up egg can level up the flavor of this dish. It also has notable nutrients that contribute you to achieve a healthy body.
- Binagoongan - the contrasting taste of each of them can bring a fantastic new flavor. It is the combination that is not common but surprisingly works well. Together with a cup of rice, it indeed is a blockbuster.
- Ginisang monggo - it works well with any fried dishes. Pairing it with a sweet and tasty flavor can go well with the light savory of this recipe. It is a better meal at lunchtime. The soup of the Munggo will not overwhelm the taste of the pork. Instead, it can boost your appetite to eat more.
Knowing how to prepare this kind of dish is an achievement for every person out there. It might look simple, but it requires hard work to cook it. It is fantastic to know how to create your version of a familiar dish you usually buy at a grocery store.
Moreover, trying this dish at home is an excellent bonding and learning for your kids and friends. You can have incredible memories together while you are preparing this kind of course. Serving it at your dining table is worth trying to experience the sweet and tasty flavor of this dish.
We hope that this information can guide you to prepare another dish you can include in your menu. It might be time-consuming to prepare, but it is worth it in the end, especially when your family loves it too.
So, go to your kitchen and prepare this kind of meal. You just need to follow all the instructions that we give you to create an extraordinary outcome. And serve it to your family, friends, and loved ones. Have a nice day! Enjoy eating!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Superior Tocino Dish
- 1 lb Pork meat sliced into ¼ thick
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Prague powder #1
- ½ cup White sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Phosphate sodium
- ½ teaspoon Anisette liquor
- ¼ cup Pineapple juice
- 3 cloves Garlic crushed
- 2 pcs Calamansi
- ¼ teaspoon Red food coloring
- 3 tablespoon Water
- 1 cup Oil
- In a large bowl, dissolve sodium phosphate with water.
- Then add all the ingredients except from the pork. Mix well.
- Apply the combined mixture to the meat by rubbing. Make sure that the mixture is evenly distributed across the meat.
- Put it on a container with cover then refrigerate for 24 hours.
- The next day, heat oil in a pan. Fry the tocino over low medium heat.
- Transfer in a serving plate. Eat with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Share and enjoy!