Archives for posts with tag: Memories of Philippine Kitchens

Curious, I asked if they had wild boar. “No,” the young hipster of a butcher answered, “but a delivery is coming in tonight. It will be clean and ready tomorrow morning. How much do you want? A whole hog?”

Of course, he was boasting. Sanagan’s Meat Locker in the Kensington Market carries just about any kind of meat and poultry: rabbit, goat, venison, Berkshire, Tamworth and Iron Age pork, quail, capon, pheasant, name it. And you’ll find the animals’ prized internal organs here as well: tongue, heart, liver. I haven’t seen horse meat nor foie gras sold in the store, though. But I’m sure if I asked and PETA wasn’t looking, they could easily score some of this stuff for me. I also love that their meats are organic or naturally raised and locally sourced. The wild boar, for example, was from a small farm near Stratford, Ontario, raised in the same field and forest conditions as its natural habitat.

I was about 8 years old when I had my first taste of wild boar meat. My Tito Dado brought a bayong-ful from Cagayan Valley where he was assigned as captain in the Philippine Constabulary. My young mind conjured up images of a wild hunt, my uncle’s rifle still smoking, a huge, bristly but limp boar slung on his shoulders. I know now that my uncle always told tall stories, but the one about the boar that he stalked for days I believed completely. Tapang baboy rrrramo, he rolled his r as he laid the meat on the table. It was trophy meat, lean, deep red, with a taste as dark and wild as the forests it foraged.

This child never forgot.

Sanagan's at 206 Baldwin Street, Toronto. Open Monday-Saturday, 8am-7pm. Sunday, 12noon-5pm. 416-5939747


I found this recipe for Langgonisa using Baboy Ramo in Memories of Philippine Kitchen. This was the first time I was making sausages, so I opted to prepare and serve this hubad, or “naked”. Wrestle the wild boar into tiny pork casings? I wouldn’t dare.

2 lbs wild boar meat, finely chopped or ground

1 lb pork fatback, finely chopped or ground

2 tbsp achuete oil

2 tbsp rice wine

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

1 tsp zest of lime

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper.

Wild boar meat is lean, dark red, gamey - but low in cholesterol!

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix very well to incorporate all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Pan-fry using canola oil.

(Tweaks: Preferring langgonisa with less fat, I used pork belly instead of the pork fatback. For a spicy kick, I minced twice the amount of garlic and added half a teaspoon of chile flakes. I also stirred in a bit more rice vinegar and the juice of half the lime I zested since, well, it was there. Wild boar has a gamey taste and I thought a little more acid would temper this gaminess. And, oh, I used disposable gloves to mix everything by hand. That achuete oil could leave a nasty stain, you know.)

Finally, my recipe for kare-kare!

Though I improvised a bit as I cooked this dish, it’s based largely on the recipe shared by my sister Cora and the one I picked up from Memories of Philippine Kitchens. Since the kare-kare was well-received at “my open kitchen” last Friday, I guess I’m sticking with this:


Oxtail, about 3 pounds, cut into 2-inch pieces

8 garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 cup roughly chopped onions

3-4 dried bay leaves

3 tbsp of oxtail fat

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1/2 cup onions, chopped

1/2 cup tomatoes, diced

2 tbsp peanut butter

5 cups oxtail broth

1/3 cup rice, toasted then ground

1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, ground

2 tbsp salt

3 tbsp achuete oil (recipe here)

1 bunch sitaw or longbeans (about 20 pieces)

2 eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 bunch bok choy (about 10-15 pieces)

1 cup bagoong or shrimp paste (sauteéd in garlic, onions and tomatoes)


1. Wash oxtail pieces thoroughly and place in a pot with 6 cups of water or enough to cover. Add the smashed garlic cloves, dried bay leaves and the roughly chopped onions. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, until meat is fork-tender, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

2. Remove from fire and drain when cool enough. Discard the bay leaves, onions and garlic pieces; remove the oxtail and set aside in a bowl or ziplock bag. Transfer broth into a bowl or pot, cover and refrigerate overnight to separate the fat. Refrigerate the oxtail pieces, as well.

Cooking Process:

1. Skim the separated fat from the oxtail broth and reserve 3 tbsp. Discard the rest.

2. In a casserole over medium heat, sauté the minced garlic and onions in the oxtail fat until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter until creamy and well-blended.

3. Add the reserved broth and cook for 15 minutes, then add the oxtail, ground rice, peanuts and achuete oil.

4. Season with salt and continue to cook until the broth has reduced partially, about 20 minutes. Keep in mind that vegetables will be added later and therefore the stew must not be too thick. Add some water if needed.

5. As the oxtail simmers, prepare the vegetables. Blanch the bokchoy, eggplant and long beans in a pot of salted boiling water and immediately transfer to iced water  in order to stop the cooking process and let the vegetable retain their color and crunch. Drain, then arrange in a platter.

6. Just before serving, mix the vegetables with the oxtail, or serve separately.

7. Serve with bagoong on the side.

With apologies for my hideous lighting and non-existent camera skills, here are photos of Purple Yam’s Kare-Kare (top) and my version (bottom). I know, I know, I still have a long way to go before I come close to the genius that is Romy Dorotan. For one, I forgot the salt! And I used some peanut butter. What a cop-out! Oh well…