Thursday, April 14, 2016

Homemade Tocino

TOCINO
 is bacon in Spanish, 
typically made from the pork belly, 
which is popular in the Philippines
due to the Spanish colonization.

In Caribbean countries, such as Puerto Rico and Cuba, 
tocino is made from pork fatback (equivalent to slab bacon cut) 
and neither cured nor smoked, 
but just fried until very crunchy and added to recipes, 
much like lardons in French cuisine.

When I was young,
my mom used to make homemade tocino for our own consumption
as well as a side business.

Different regions in the Philippines
has their own version.
Mine is more of what I've grown up with
but has been altered for healthier reasons.
And no preservative or artificial color added.
You can freeze them for later consumption as well.

Before I start the recipe,
I would like to share some info 
on why I have altered the traditional ingredients.
You can use whatever suits you.



*Traditionally in the Philippines,
we use banana ketchup as it is sweet.
But so far I haven't seen an organic version.
I am staying away from artificial colorings & preservatives
so I have been using organic tomato ketchup instead.

*If you are allergic to gluten,
substitute soy sauce with tamari.
FYI:
Tamari: Little to no wheat (always double-check if avoiding gluten)
Soy Sauce: Includes wheat (not gluten-free)
I am not allergic to gluten but it is the organic soy sauce 
available in my neighbor grocery store.

*Sea salt vs table salt/iodized salt
Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes, 
usually with little processing. 
Depending on the water source, 
this leaves behind certain trace minerals and elements. 
The minerals add flavor and color to sea salt, which also comes in a variety of coarseness levels.
Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits. 
Table salt is more heavily processed to eliminate minerals 
and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping.

*I used to add Sprite/7-up but I haven't been drinking soda for a while 
and it is just unhealthy.
It still tastes good without it.
But if you are one of those who can't omit an ingredient,
you can make your own healthy version.

Healthy Lemon & Lime "Soda"
*1 cup sparkling water
1/2 lemon
1/2 lime
honey/organic sugar for sweetness


Ingredients: 
(organic if possible)

1 kg boneless pork or chicken, cut into thin strips
1 cup Healthy Lemon & Lime soda (see above) - optional
1 cup pineapple juice or apple juice
1 cup honey or brown sugar (you can add more depending on sweetness preference)
6 tbsp tomato ketchup
4 tbsp soy sauce/tamari
2 cloves minced garlic 
5 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Add all the ingredients in a container except the pork and mix well.
Add the pork and "massage" them for as long as you can. lol
If container has no cover, you can use clear wrap/foil to cover.
Put in the fridge for at least 2 days to cure the meat.

Cooking:

Tocino is traditionally boiled in water (just enough water to cover the meat) 
or fried in oil, 
or is cooked over medium heat until the fat is rendered.

I personally just put a few sprays of oil (I use coconut or olive oil)
 in the pan just to coat it.
Put the meat in.
Liquid will come out on its own.
I turn the meat once in a while
and let the liquid evaporate on its own.


Best served with garlic fried rice, tomatoes and egg.
And/or a spicy garlic vinegar as a condiment for the tocino.

Enjoy! 



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