Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chinese-style Paksiw na Baboy

Paksiw is basically a stew with vinegar as the main "spice" or seasoning.  So Paksiw na Baboy is pork braised in a vinegar stewing liquid. 

I grew up with the Chinese-style paksiw, always with mushrooms and banana blossoms, occasionally with cinnamon and star anise.  But the dish as I knew it then was more sweet than tangy and to be honest, these days, I like it better when it's tangier and less sweet.

The recipe:

About 1 kilo liempo (pork belly), cubed, parboiled
1/4 to 1/2 cup native vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 to 3 pieces bay leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons smashed peppercorns (not ground pepper)
1 whole garlic, smashed
50 to 100 grams dried banana blossoms, rehydrated
5 to 6 pieces dried shitake, rehydrated
1 stick cinnamon
2 to 3 pieces star anise
about 1/2 to 1 cup water

Place everything in a pot.  For the water, initially add 1/2 cup.  If it is enough to cover all the meat then set aside the remaining 1/2 cup to top up later if too much liquid evaporates.

Simmer everything until tender, which for me was about 40 minutes - this will depend on the thickness of the cut of your meat.  If using pork pata (leg), it could be as long as an hour and a half.


1. pork pata can be used, the front part is meatier than the hind part.

2. I like a tangy, piquant taste, and it reflects so in this dish.  If you wish, use the lesser amount of 1/4 cup vinegar.

3. I also love banana blossoms so I always use the "larger" measure.

4. for the Filipino-style of paksiw, omit the cinnamon, star anise, and mushrooms.  Use the lesser amount of banana blossoms.  Chunks of saba (just ripe and still firm) can also be added towards the end of the cooking time.

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