Most of us who grew up with Filipino food can tell a mile away if someone is cooking bagoong (shrimp paste). The smell of bagooong is strong and distinct that you cannot mistake it for anything else. But as distinct as it smells, its taste is in a class by itself.
Something about it’s saltiness and fishiness (although I know the alamang is made of shrimp) cooked with other spices or combined with other dishes makes it so uniquely Filipino. Bagoong completes one of Philippines’ most popular dishes, the Kare Kare. It is also a perfect pair to green mangoes and can be also be cooked with pork or vegetables like the Pinakbet and our featured recipe, the Pork Binagoongan.
I am a BIG fan of bagoong. Bagoong and I have a love hate relationship that goes way back…I was around seven years old when I fell in love with bagoong. I remember coming home from school and craving it. I would go straight to the kitchen, get a plate of bahaw (semi-cold cooked rice) and a spoonful of bagoong , prop myself on a stool by the kitchen counter and I am set!
I vividly remember eating my rice and bagoong using my hands! Then one day, I woke up with swollen hands and feet with red blisters that were super itchy! My mom brought me to the doctor and found out I had a food allergy with seafood and that includes my beloved bagoong.
But even as a child, I was stubborn and despite the doctor’s orders to stay away from it, I would get a pinch of bagoong in the refrigerator when no one was watching. Until one day, I cannot resist anymore and I decided I’ll eat bagoong anyway and just endure the itching and the swelling. Luckily, I outgrew my allergy and bagoong and I are reunited once more.
Now back to the review, my love for bagoong inspired me to cook pork binagoongan for dinner. I have seen a few recipes but decided to skip them since I figured they were the “dry” binagoongan. I wanted something saucy so that I can use the left over sauce as a dip for green mangoes and even my left over pineapple in the refrigerator…yes, pineapple! (that’s a whole new post that I will get to one day) Anyway, I found this perfect saucy binagoongan from Kusina Atbp. Although there was no picture provided, I knew it was the recipe I was looking for.
Recipe Review Site: Kusina At Iba Pa!
Cook Date: Oct 11, 2011
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Total Cooking time: 55 minutes
- 1 kilo pork with fat (cut into chunk cubes)
- 2 cups bagoong alamang
- 1 head of garlic (minced)
- 1 big onion (minced) 4 tomatoes (diced)
- 4 chili peppers (minced)
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- In a casserole, boil pork and lower fire until water evaporates and pork oil starts to come out.
- When pork is lightly crispy, put in on the side and saute garlic, onion, tomatoes and chili peppers in the fat and mix pork once more.
- Add in the bagoong and cook while stirring for 5 minutes.
- Pour in the vinegar and stir well.
- Add in the sugar and let simmer for 10 minutes or just until cooked.
- Serve hot.
I picked this recipe because I was looking for something saucy. In addition, it was very simple to cook. Just fry the pork, sautee the garlic, onion, tomatoes and add everything else. The use of vinegar and brown sugar balanced the saltiness of the bagoong. Since there was no regular bagoong in our supermarket and I ended up getting the spicy kind, I had to skip the chili peppers. I used the Kamayan brand which is very similar with the Barrio Fiesta brand. The spicy bagoong just had enough kick with the vinegar and brown sugar added to it. If you prefer the sweet bagoong, use less brown sugar and maybe add a little more chili pepper.
I will try this very simple recipe again using the regular bagoong. It’s a two in one recipe for ulam and dip. If you have left over green mangoes or just simply craving for bagoong, this is the perfect recipe!