The Pork Menudo recipe that I am featuring today is the Filipino version. It is a type of pork stew cooked in a tomato based sauce. The basic way of cooking this dish involves fatty cuts of pork such as shoulder, butt, or belly. It also makes use of pig liver and vegetables such as carrot and potato.
I have shown you how to cook different versions of menudo in this food blog throughout the years. There were festive versions, and there are variations that involve the use of meats other than pork. Feel free to browse around to see these recipes.
This particular pork menudo recipe is actually my favorite. It is what I mostly use during regular days and special occasions. You will likely agree with me once you have tried it. I will talk about what I like most about this version in a bit. Let me quickly clarify and talk about what makes Pinoy menudo different from Mexican menudo.
Filipino Menudo vs. Mexican Menudo
The internet search results will likely display Mexican menudo when you search for “menudo” or “menudo recipes”. This is totally different from Filipino menudo. These two dishes cannot be compared side-by-side because one is a soup and the other is a stew. Traditional recipes of both dishes also use different types of meats. We cannot compare apples with oranges, but we should be able to briefly describe each dish.
Filipino Menudo is a pork stew. It is tomato based and uses potato, carrot, and pig liver as basic ingredients. Other versions may include the use of bell peppers, raisins, and green peas. It can be served during ordinary days and special occasions. Menudo in the Philippines is usually prepared during town fiestas, birthday celebrations, and Christmas dinner. In fact, my Noche Buena won’t be complete without it. It is best eaten with warm white rice. There are times when it can be eaten with bread too. I personally enjoy eating leftover menudo fresh out of the fridge with hot pandesal.
Mexican Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup. It is mainly composed of cow stomach cooked in a broth with red chili pepper. There are also versions from other regions in Mexico wherein pig’s feet or knuckles are used. Honeycomb tripe is the commonly used part to make this dish. The other ingredients needed to make this menudo version involve hominy, onion, and lime. It is traditionally eaten with tortillas.
Simple and Flavorful
This is my favorite Filipino pork menudo version as you already know. I like it because it is simple to cook, and it is flavorful. I would love to just say that it is simply delicious, but let me justify it.
This version makes use of minimal ingredients. We are talking about the basic ingredients with the addition of dried bay leaves, soy sauce, and calamansi. There is also nothing fancy about this dish but the taste is out of this world. I attribute the improvement in the overall flavor to the soy sauce and calamansi marinade. The dried bay leaves were also key players. It improved the aroma and added nice flavors to the dish.
Cooking Filipino Pork Menudo
The first thing to do before cooking is to marinade the pork slices in soy sauce and calamansi juice. Pour soy sauce over the pork and squeeze-in the calamansi. Mix everything together. Let the pork marinate for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the meat to absorb the marinade. It will be better to marinate the pork longer if you have extra time.
Now we are ready to cook! Saute ginger and liver. I am cooking the liver with minced ginger to reduce the gamey aroma and taste from it. This step will benefit non-liver fans. You should be able to enjoy eating liver like you have never done before. Set the liver aside after cooking. We will be adding these back into the pan later in the process.
Time to cook the pork! Saute onion and garlic. This is the basic way to start cooking most Filipino dishes. Make sure that the onion softens before adding the marinated pork. Take note to leave the remaining marinade in the bowl. The pork will brown easily with lesser liquid.
Add the marinade into the pan once the pork turns light brown. This is also the perfect time to pour water and tomato sauce. Stir and let the mixture boil. I am using pork cube in my menudo because it brings-in more flavor that helps improves the overall taste of the dish. Note that we are adding water in the mixture in order to prevent the sauce from drying-up while tenderizing the pork, since it still needs to be boiled for 1 hour. Make sure to cover the pan while boiling and adjust the heat between low to medium.
Add the cooked liver back into the pan along with the sliced hot dog. I like adding sliced red hot dogs because it reminds me of my childhood. The potato and carrot can also be added afterwards. Cover and continue to cook until the veggies are fully cooked. This should take around 8 to 10 minutes. You can add more water if you want your dish saucier. Season your dish with sugar, salt, and pepper based on your preferred taste.
Tips and Alternative Ingredients
A key to a successful pork menudo has something to do with the quality and cut meat used. I always use meats with fat content because fat keeps the meat moist. Pork shoulder and belly are the two main cuts that I use.
Pork menudo will be more enjoyable to eat when the meat is tender. Do this by boiling the meat for around an hour using low to medium heat. The time and heat combination will tenderize the pork while bringing out the flavor from it.
Lemon or limes are good substitute ingredients for calamansi. Bell peppers and green peas can also be added to the dish.
Try this Pork Menudo Recipe. Let me know what you think.
Filipino Pork Menudo Recipe
- 2 lbs. pork cubed
- 1 piece Knorr Pork Cube
- ¼ lb. pig liver cubed
- 1 piece potato diced
- 1 piece carrot cubed
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 3 pieces calamansi
- 1 piece onion minced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger minced
- ½ teaspoon granulated white sugar
- 1 can tomato sauce 8 oz.
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 pieces hotdogs sliced diagonally
- 4 pieces dried bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- Heat 1 ½ tablespoons oil in a pot. Saute ginger. Add liver and continue to saute until light brown. Remove from the pot. Set aside.
- Pour remaining oil into the pot. Saute onion and garlic.
- Add marinated pork once the onion softens. Cook until light brown.
- Pour remaining marinade, tomato sauce, and water. Let boil.
- Add Knorr pork cube. Stir.
- Add dried bay leaves. Cover the pot. Boil until pork becomes tender. Note: use between low to medium heat. Add more water as needed.
- Put the sautéed liver back into the pot and then add hotdogs, potato, and carrot. Stir. Cover and continue to cook in medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Season with sugar, salt, and ground black pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve! Share and enjoy.