Cooking has always been an exciting adventure for me. I am continually fascinated by how the simple addition, subtraction or substitution of one ingredient or two can completely transform one dish into another. Take for instance our favorite stews. Menudo, afritada, calderata and mechado all share the same mode of preparation and the same base of onions, garlic and tomatoes but by changing up other ingredients, these dishes are similar yet with their own distinct set of flavors and textures. Now, the perennial adobo. From meat, seafood to vegetables, this classic Filipino dish has so many interpretations you can cook it everyday and not repeat. Add brown sugar and banana blossoms and you have paksiw na pata. Replace the banana blossoms with saba bananas, throw in some carrots and Chinese sausages and you have this delicious pork estofado. Really, with basic staples and a sprinkling of creativity, dinner meals can be a daily discovery.
- 1/4 cup oil
- 4 saba bananas peeled and cut into 1-inch thick crosswise
- 1 small onion peeled and chopped
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 pounds pork leg cut into 2-inch cubes
- 3/4 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 large carrot peeled and cut into 1-inch thick chunks
- 3 Chinese sausage cut into 1/2-inch thick
- In a wide skillet or pan, heat oil. Add bananas and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
- Remove oil from pan except about 2 tablespoons. Add onions and garlic and cook until limp. Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Add vinegar and continue to cook, without stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add soy sauce and water and bring to a boil, skimming scum that may float to top. Season with pepper to taste. Lower heat, cover and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until meat is tender. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add carrots and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Add sausage and bananas and cook until heated through. Season with salt to taste. Continue to cook until pork is fork-tender and sauce is reduced. Serve hot.