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Cooking different dishes from other countries and their cuisines can always be quite overwhelming and difficult. While it may be challenging, this is easily one of the best ways to get better at cooking and familiarize yourself with different food from all over the world.

Cutting and chopping meat on a wooden chop board

What is Nilagang Baboy?

Nilagang baboy is one of the easiest Filipino soup dishes to make and is often referred to as a boiled pork stew. While there are other variations such as nilagang baka, which is cooked with boiled beef, all of these soups use boiled meat paired with vegetables, soy sauce, and fish sauce (patis).

It is traditional to use tender and fatty cuts of meat in this dish which would include meats such as pork ribs, pork belly, and sirloin steak. The vegetables can vary a lot depending on what the cook wants to add, but sweetcorn, Chinese cabbage, onions, and saba bananas. Additional seasonings and sauces can be added but the most common ones are soy sauce and fish sauce.

How to Cook Nilagang Baboy

The traditional nilagang baboy recipe is very easy to make and is a great way to introduce yourself to Filipino cuisine. The ingredients are also rather simple and can be purchased from the majority of supermarkets. For this recipe you will need;

  • 1 KG pork ribs
  • A small onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of whole pepper corn
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1-2 sweetcorns peeled and cut into four equal portions
  • 2-3 potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 saba bananas halved
  • 1 bunch pechay

The ingredients are simple, but one or two can be difficult to get a hold of. Thankfully, a lot of the ingredients can be substituted for anything you see fit. All in all the recipe has a prep time of about 10 minutes and a cook time of an hour and a half. The dish itself will be split into 4 Filipino servings.

Prepare the Boiled Pork Ribs

To prepare the pork ribs you will want to boil them slightly to separate all the scum. Place the ribs in a pot and cover them with water. Bring this to a boil and wait ten minutes, the scum should have risen to the top by now. Transfer your pork to a strainer and rinse it to remove any impurities. After you have rinsed your pork, place it in a clean pot and cover it with water once again. The scum that was removed is just protein and saturated fat from the pork.

Once in the clean pot, add your onion, garlic, peppercorns, and fish sauce. Bring this to a boil and let it simmer for an hour. You will know it is ready once the pork is tender enough to be stabbed with a fork, also known as being fork-tender. The pork bones are completely fine to be in the dish, although they cannot be eaten.

Prepare the Vegetables

To prepare your vegetables, you will want to scoop out the pork and move this to a bowl. Try to scoop as little of the broth out as possible. A ladle with holes in the bottom works well, as do tongs. Now you can discard the remaining ingredients which are the onion, garlic, and peppercorns. They have flavored the broth and are not needed anymore. You can now drop your four portions of sweetcorn in the broth and allow it to cook for ten minutes. Following this, after ten minutes you should then add your potatoes and let them also cook for ten minutes. After the potatoes have been cooked for ten minutes, add your saba bananas and cook them for five minutes.

After all three of your vegetables have been cooked, you can lay your pechay on the broth and gently press down on it to submerge it. Once submerged in the hot broth, let this cook for a further five minutes.

Now you can add your boiled pork back into the dish and let it simmer until the meat is properly heated. This is the perfect time to make adjustments so taste your broth and add more fish sauce if you need to. Make sure to serve hot and enjoy it. It is best to be served in a serving bowl and eaten with a spoon. A ladle is also ideal for serving as it allows you to share out the broth and food equally. Add salt to taste before eating.

While this is a nilagang baboy recipe, the recipe used for nilagang baka or nilagang manok is made in a very similar way. When making nilagang manok, chicken, you can opt to use chicken stock in your broth to give it a deeper flavor or to save time.

Is Nilagang Baboy Healthy?

In a single portion or a good nutrition serving, nilagang baboy is quite nutritious and healthy. Nilagang baboy is mostly made up of meat and vegetables which are great for proteins and fiber, as well as other micronutrients. The broth also helps bring out all of the nutrients from the spare ribs’ bones which will add even more nutrition to the broth. While they are basic ingredients, the meal is very balanced healthy for anyone who wants to eat it. It can be served at lunchtime or later on and is easily made by any home cooks looking for a new dish to make. It is most traditionally served as the main course in a restaurant. While nutritious, the dish may not always be the most filling so it is commonly served alongside dumplings.