Dinuguan at Puto sa Bigas
Black Pudding Stew with Steamed Rice Cake
What is Dinuguan
It is a stew of offal and meat, simmered in a rich gravy of pig’s blood, garlic, chili and vinegar. Dinuguan is also known as Chocolate stew, nicknamed to trick children and unknowing adults to eat it!. Which is probably not the best way to encourage people to try this dish but thinking beyond pig’s blood and offal this dish is a delicious stew with a tangy soup. The blood was used as flavouring and the vinegar to stop the blood from coagulating and to extend shelf life as a preservative, just like other Filipino dishes such as Paksiw, Adobo, Sinigang and many more with vinegar tones. The name comes from the word ‘dugo’ meaning blood in Filipino.
To me this is a normal Filipino dish, some British people and Western Filipinos find this dish strange or weird but this dish is made out of necessity just like most indegenous Filipino dishes. We mustn’t forget British people eat Pig’s blood too! In a traditional English breakfast, along with bacon and pork sausages, black pudding (pig’s blood sausage) is also eaten. Perhaps the British called it pudding to trick people into eating it as well!
The variations of culture are deeply on rooted on environment and history. Normal is relative, its standards changing in each region, in each municipality, in each passing kilometer. Dinuguan and other “exotic” dishes should not be viewed as something in a different category, it should be looked at with a sense of sameness. It should be looked at with relative indifference. Eating pieces of intestine with the grit still intact is our normal. Consuming the deep fried crickets and mangrove worms drenched in vinegar is our normal. Eating the innards of pigs and chickens is our normal. And enjoying dinuguan, through each spoonful of cooked blood, is our normal. — from Andre Orandain of CNN life Philippines
Dinuguan has many variations just like other Filipino dishes. Regional variations as well individual twists, makes this an exciting dish. Variations like Tid-Tad in Pampanga, Dinardaraan in Ilocano, Sinunggaok or Champene in Batangas, Sampayna or Champayna in Mindanao will have variations using local ingredients prominent to them. Sadly there are not many documents gathered to know when Dinuguan was first seen and it’s origins. I think only in recent years that Filipinos started seeking to find out more about Filipino cuisine. Hopefully we will find more background and origins of many Filipino dishes.
I can’t remember when I first tried dinuguan but I have always liked it. I didn’t think it was weird or ikky, I thought it was delicious! Dinuguan is paired with a steamed rice cake called Puto.
What is Puto
Puto or Poto is a delicacy, it’s one of a wide range of rice delicacies locally known as ‘Kakanin’ the word ‘kanin’ means rice. These rice cakes are either steamed or baked. This is the Filipinos native version of cupcakes! It can be eaten as a sweet snack or a companion to a savoury dish like Dinuguan.
This version of Puto is made from scratch using jasmine rice soaked overnight.
According to pepper.ph The word puto is derived from the Malay word puttu, which literally means “portioned.” The regional variants of the steamed cake take their names from either their appearance or their most notable feature. Puto bumbong, for example, is named after the chimney-like contraption used to cook it, puto seco translates to “dry puto” in Spanish (a nod to this variant’s biscuit-like texture), and bite-sized cakes stuffed with a sweet meat filling are called puto pao as a tribute to the Chinese meat bun that inspired their creation.
Now the name makes more sense but I wonder what the Spaniards thought when they heard this? Haha! I can imagine their baffled faces when hearing the name of these rice cakes, maybe they wondered if the Filipinos were calling them naughty names or not. Either way I would be scared to use it with the Spanish but it seems like the name stuck through the years, so maybe the Spaniards didn’t think it was a bad thing.
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To make the stew, heat some oil in a pot, add onions, cook for about a minute or until it turns translucent and add garlic, cook for about a minute. Add pork, cook the pork until it’s not pink anymore. Pour water into the pot, put the lid on and let this simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the pork is tender.
To keep the pork blood from coagulating, add some vinegar into the blood and mix well, leave this on the side for later.
Once the pork has simmered, you can now season your stew by adding salt and pepper. Mix it really well. Then put the lid back on and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
Next, add pigs blood into the pork, while pouring the blood make sure you stir at the same time. This helps to avoid the blood clumping together, add vinegar straight away and mix them really well. Then, add chillies before putting the lid back on and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes. If you want more soup you can add more water at this stage and let it boil first then simmer.
Once simmered, it’s ready to serve with some puto or rice cake. Dinuguan is also great served with some boiled rice.
To make the puto, soak the rice in water overnight. Once soaked, drain the water keeping 250ml for later.
Using a blender, add soaked rice and water. Blend this until the rice turns into a smoothie-like texture. Pour it into a bowl, add sugar and baking powder. Mix them well and leave it to settle and ferment for about 3-4 hours.
Pour the puto mixture into greased plastic molds, steam them for about 15-20 minutes. If you’re using an electric steamer, put your puto on the second shelf as it’s not too hot and if you are steaming in a stove (cooker). Let the water boil first, turn the heat to medium before steaming the puto. Always make sure you put a cloth over the pot or electric steamer before you put the lid on to stop the moisture from dripping down into the puto. Once steamed it’s ready to serve with Dinuguan.
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