Foodie Friday: Binagoongang Baboy (Pork-Bagoong Stew)

First Friday of the month:  Mom-Cook / Recipe

Ahhh... bagoong. A popular Filipino condiment that's salty and has a pungent smell. Love it or hate it? I LOVE it. There's no middle ground here.  Bagoong is fermented krill (alamang) in salt, and turns to paste form.  We use it either as dipping sauce or mixed with meats and seafood, like this super easy ulam that's mainly flavored by bagoong.  For me, the default dish using pork belly (liempo) is adobo. This binagoongang baboy is my alternative to adobo. Both simple, but packs a lot of flavor. Very Pinoy!

I'll be very straightforward here since there's really nothing much to say -- this binagoongang baboy is a very simple meat dish that only requires a good amount of bagoong alamang, and what I call the "ginisa trinity" (can I trademark this?). The 3 basic ingredients in most Filipino dishes are: garlic + onion + tomato = the ginisa trinity.  In Chinese cuisine, we have the aromatic ginger, garlic, and leeks triumvirate.

I alternately buy these two brands of bagoong, and sometimes this sweet-style brand whenever I chance upon it in groceries. I've tried many brands. Anyhow, my first choice is Barrio Fiesta, mainly because of it's "fragrant" blend, flavor, and saltiness over other brands.  The Golden Hands brand comes in second.  Feel free to use your choice of bagoong.


1 kilo, sliced pork belly / liempo
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons bagoong
1 teaspoon sugar
ground pepper
water for boiling
1 teaspoon rock salt

To prepare:
Boil water in a large pot. Add salt. Place sliced pork belly in boiling water, cover, and leave for 30-40 minutes depending on thickness of meat.
Mince garlic, and chop onion and tomato.  Set aside and wait for the pork to be ready, at least half cooked.
After boiling, drain the water.  Save 1 cup of the broth.
Transfer boiled liempo on a chopping board.  Cut/cube the meat and set aside. 
(Smaller than adobo cut is ideal.  I used country style cut since it's sliced thinner at the meat shop, making it more tender, cooked faster.)

To cook:
In the same pot, put a tiny bit of cooking oil and sweat the ginisa trinity.
Add the bagoong and continue to sauté for another minute. Pour the saved broth and sugar, continue mixing the sauce.
Mix in the chopped pork belly and make sure each piece is coated in the sauce.
Add pepper, and more bagoong by the teaspoon, to suit your taste.
Mix well and let it simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, or until the sauce has reduced and the oil separates/floats.
Pork should be fork tender by this time.
Use a slotted ladle/spoon to scoop out the meat in bagoong sauce, leaving the oil behind.

While the pork is simmering, I asked my helper to prepare fried eggplant (since there was not time to grill).  It was a perfect match as the eggplant goes so well with bagoong too, and I throughly enjoyed my lunch that time. Whenever I feel like it, I usually have fried eggplant or boiled okra, spread or dipped with a mixture of bagoong and cane vinegar.  Try it!

Look at this girl with her very odd combo on the plate.  That's garlic pasta, toast bread, and the pork. She didn't finish the pork so I ate her leftovers.  

Binagoongang baboy is best served with veggies (grilled eggplant) and rice, and even with salted eggs and tomatoes on the side. Just like adobo, re-heating leftovers taste even better and will melt in your mouth the next meal! It can even have a second life with toasted garlic and leftover rice and voila -- instant bagoong fried rice! Indulge!

You might like check this out: Honey Bagoong Rice

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