Dinugu-an (Pork’s Blood Stew)
The word Dinugu-an roughly means “with blood” or “added with blood”, the said word comes from the root word “dugo” which is Filipino for blood. To better picture out dinugu-an, think of it as a savory stew with pork’s blood and meat (the most authentic Filipino dinugu-an uses pigs offal’s instead of choice meat) cooked with spicy chili, garlic and vinegar. I don’t know what is behind this Filipino fascination for vinegar, but vinegar is always present on the dining table as a condiment and is usually used in Filipino dishes.
To better understand how this dish came to be, it is best to look back into the Philippine history. During the olden days meat is a very expensive commodity and mostly only those with deep pockets could well afford them. Most often than not folks those days could go for weeks, even months without any meat. So, when an opportunity comes where a pig is butchered any part of it that is edible is used.
During the Spanish era when western culture started to influence the Filipino palate, the blood and the other unwanted parts like the intestines, stomach, ears, etc. are usually just thrown away or are sold cheap by the butcher. So these parts are usually the things bought by the poor Filipinos who could not afford to buy the choicest parts of the pork. Some ingenious Filipino cook, whose name was lost in the passage of time, decided to put all this unwanted bits together in one dish, thus Dinugu-an was born.
If you want to try making dinugu-an, eat it hot with puto (Filipino rice cake) or with hot steamed rice.
If you don’t eat pork, you could use beef and cow’s blood instead.
Dinugu-an, like any other popular dishes out there, comes in many styles and forms, but since I am kind of a purist I will be giving you the most basic form of dinugu-an. I don’t know if it is the original recipe, but it sure is the simplest out there.
1 kilo of pork cut into very small cubes
(NOTE: for authentic dinugu-an, use the pig’s ears, intestines, stomach or combinations of all of it. However, if you are quite squeamish, you could use pork belly instead.)
¼ kilo of pork liver, diced
2-4 cups of pigs blood, frozen (use the higher range if you want a thicker and more savory stew)
3 jalapeno chili peppers
2 heads of garlic, crushed and minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
3 onions, halved and sliced thinly
1 bay leaf
2 – 4 tablespoons of sugar (to counter the sour taste of the vinegar)
1 cup vinegar
1- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
2 – 3 tablespoons of pepper (optional)
Boil the pork until tender and cut into desired sizes. Save the broth.
Heat a heavy casserole. Pour in the cooking oil. When the oil is already hot add the garlic and ginger. Sauté until the garlic begins to turn brown and fragrant.
Add the pork pieces and cook over high heat until the liquid evaporates and the fat in the pork is rendered and the edges of the pork start to turn slightly brown.
Add the onions, chili peppers, bay leaf and continue cooking until the onions are transparent. Season it with a small dash of salt and pepper.
Pour in the vinegar and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Make sure to uncover the casserole so as to allow the liquid to evaporate. However, also make sure that it does not become too dry or else you will burn it. Do not stir.
Pour in the broth that you saved in the first step (about 2 ½ cups full of it. If your broth is not enough you could use water instead). Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Take the pigs blood out of the refrigerator and then transfer to a clean bowl. With your hands, mash solid masses to a pulp. Pour the mashed blood and the liquid into the casserole. Add the sugar and the jalapeno peppers. Bring to a boil.
Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Stir continuously to prevent the blood to coagulate.
Add the minced liver and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is thick.
Add more salt if necessary or to reach desired taste.
The resulting dish should be thick and should taste a little sour, but not too much. If your dish would taste bitter to the taste then you had overcooked it.
You could also add a little corn starch or flour to help thicken the dish.