Dinuguan or also known as chocolate meat is a savory dish made with diced pork, pork blood, and spices. Hearty and boldly-flavored, this classic Filipino pork stew is delicious as a main meal with steamed rice or as a midday snack with puto.
I usually make my dinuguan with pork along with other offal cuts, but since I was able to pique G’s curiosity enough to give the dish a try, I used only pork belly in this recipe to pare down the fear factor.
He already has to wrestle with the idea of eating pork blood and to add bits and pieces of ears and intestines into the mix might be too much for the poor guy to handle in one sitting.
What is Dinuguan
Dinuguan , which comes from the root word dugo (meaning “blood”), is a savory Filipino stew made of bite-sized pork cooked in pig’s blood, vinegar, and spices including garlic, onions, and chili peppers
Along with choice pork cuts, it also traditionally includes a variety of offal such as ears, intestines, heart, lungs, and kidneys. While pork is the most popular, other versions also use chicken or beef
Fondly referred to as “chocolate meat”, the pork blood stew is also called tid tad in Kapampangan region, sinugaok in Batangas, dinardaraan in the Ilocos area, dugo dugo in Cebuano, and tinumis in Bulacan and Nueva Ecija provinces.
Tips on How to Cook Pork Dinuguan
- I use vinegar in this recipe, but I’ve tried versions that use tamarind, kamias or tomato sauce instead. Regardless of what you choose to use, these acids serve the same purpose. Along with adding the necessary touch of sourness to the dish, they also keep the blood from curdling. Make sure to stir about one or two tablespoons of the vinegar in the pork’s blood before adding to the stew to ensure a smooth, deep brown sauce.
- Allow the vinegar to boil uncovered and without stirring for a few minutes to cook off the strong acid taste.
- No need to thicken the gravy! The protein albumin in the blood coagulates with heat application and will act as a natural thickener.
- The brown sugar added during the last few minutes of cooking might seem out of place in this rich, savory dish but it does help balance the flavors.
A staple in Asian cookery, tofu are a very affordable yet delicious and versatile protein source. They have a bland, neutral taste and come with a range of texture (silken, soft and firm), making them easy to incorporate in both sweet and savory applications. Below are my favorite ways to use tofu:
- Ginisang Togi at Tokwa-a light yet satisfying veggie stir-fry made with tofu cubes and crisp bean sprouts
- Lugaw at Tokwa-crunchy tofu make a delightful topping for congee
- Tokwa’t Baboy-succulent pork pieces and freshly-fried tofu are tossed in a tangy, spicy vinaigrette dressing
For better frying, make sure to drain tofu well from the packing liquid. I usually wrap the tofu block in a thick layer of paper towels, set it over a wire rack and weigh it down with a saucer or bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes to extract moisture.
- Cut tofu in uniform size to ensure even cooking.
- Depending on the recipe, tofu can be pan- or deep-fried. If pan-frying, swirl oil to fully coat bottom of pan. Heat until oil begins to shimmer and add tofu pieces in a single layer. Allow to lightly brown before turning to prevent tofu from falling apart. If deep-frying, make sure the frying oil is of proper temperature to prevent tofu from sticking and absorbing too much grease. Oil should be very hot but not smoking or tofu will burn before fully crisping. Use enough oil so the tofu floats in the oil. Do not overcrowd pan and allow enough room to easily toss the tofu in the oil to evenly brown.