When cooking the popular Filipino stew, afritada, I usually employ two ways. For the chicken version, I like to use fresh tomatoes for a lighter sauce and to add green peas along with the other customary vegetables.
For my pork afritada, I prefer the more robust canned tomato sauce and like to keep it simple with carrots, potatoes and bell peppers. One step, however, that I apply for both variants is frying the potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers prior to adding them to the stew. This step prevents the vegetables from disintegrating while being cooked completely in the simmering sauce.
- ¼ cup oil
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cubed
- ½ green bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
- ½ red bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 pounds pork belly or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 (15 ounces) can tomato sauce
- 2 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a skillet or wide pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add potatoes and carrots and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Add bell peppers and cook for about 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
- Remove oil from pot except for about 2 tablespoons. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until limp. Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add fish sauce and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and cook for about 40 to 45 minutes or until pork is tender.
- Add potatoes and carrots. Continue to cook for about 7 to 10 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender and sauce is thickened and reduced. Add bell peppers and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender yet crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.