Sorry to disturb your appetite, but those with a weak stomach, hematophobia, vegetarians, religious beliefs… skip this page. This is not for you. My sister was even cringing in the background as I write this down - "It looks like... massacre!"
Blood stew. Midnight stew. Dinuguan. This dish will not exist without bloodshed. This is not an exotic dish. Anywhere in the Philippines- from barrio fiestas to carinderias or commercial restaurants – it is as common as hamburger in the United States. I am not sure these days if the Catholic church will call me blasphemous for posting this on a cuaresma season, but hey, with due respect and hands down honesty, this dish is highly present in high school reunions popularly celebrated the day after Good Friday or even Easter Sunday.
Not made with the gentle pork belly, ribs, back, not even ham nor knuckles…but pork’s most unlikely parts: blood, intestines, face, snout, ears… But since pork intestines require a long process of cleaning, it is easier to use the pork face. The cartilage of the ears and the soft snout is just so yummy when they’re cooked.
Pork blood can be purchased from the wet market – not even purchased- because the butchers give them for free…
One very important thing to consider for the cook, is to make sure that the spices are complete. Makes use of ultra- fragrant spices so common of Asian cuisine, lemon grass, bay leaves, red ginger, etc.
1.5 liters pork blood
1 kg pork face (snout, cheeks, eyes, ears)
2 liters coconut milk, squeezed with the pork stock
2- 3 cups vinegar
3 T fish sauce
1 bundle lemon grass
1/3 C chopped ginger
½ C chopped tomatoes
½ C chopped onions
1/3 C minced garlic
5 pcs bay leaves
1 T crushed peppercorns
3 pcs jalapeno pepper
2 T oil for sauteeing
1. In a pressure cooker, cook the pork face for over an hour or until very tender. Do not discard the stock.
2. You can do the chopping of the other ingredients : onion, tomatoes, garlic, etc. while that is being cooked.
3. When pork face is done, remove from pressure cooker, let cool. Cut it afterwards into small pieces.
4. In a large wok or kawa, sauté garlic, onion, tomatoes, ginger, pepper, toss in bay leaves, crushed peppercorn, lemon grass. Let the spices bring out their flavors.
5. Place the cut pork face. Stir. Add the vinegar and fish sauce and simmer.
6. Combine pork blood and coconut milk on a separate container. (What we do at home is we extract coconut milk from grated coconut, already combined with the pork blood and stock, then pass them through a strainer altogether.)
7. Pour the blood-coconut mixture into the simmering pork face. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. The red blood will turn dark brown as cooking is prolonged. Warning: don’t ever make the mistake of tasting the stew when the blood is still red.
8. Cook thoroughly. Season with salt.
9. Serve with native rice cakes or rice.
But the traditional rice cake is really good with this: