Tocinong Baboy (Filipino Cured Pork)
Filipino Pork Tocino
Filipinos love sweet and savory dishes—and pork tocino is one of those dishes. It is a main dish that is traditionally served at breakfast with garlic fried rice and fried eggs. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
For curing the meat:
- 2 pounds pork butt, belly, or loin, cut into 1/4-inch-thick, square slices
- 1 3/4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons hot tap water
- 1 tablespoon anatto seeds (aka achiote or achuete seeds) for coloring, available at Asian or Hispanic stores
For cooking the meat:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for frying
- Soak the annatto seeds in 4 tablespoons of hot tap water for 30 minutes. Press the seeds with a spoon to squeeze out the red juices. Pour the red annatto water through a strainer into a small bowl to remove the seeds.
- Mix the pork, red annatto water, salt, and sugar in the bowl. Transfer to a tupperware container or a ziploc bag and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- In a frying pan over medium heat, simmer the pork in 1/2 cup water for about 10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked. Add more water if needed.
- When the water has evaporated, add the oil and fry the meat on both sides until it caramelizes or gets a bit sticky.
- If you want a sweeter dish, you can use 1/3 cup of fruit juice such as pineapple juice in step 3, instead of water.
- If you want to cure the meat the traditional way, add 1/8 teaspoon of saltpeter (aka salitre in Tagalog) to the marinade in step 2.
- Use red food coloring as a shortcut instead of using annatto seeds.
- You can add your own seasonings to the dish to suit your taste, such as garlic powder. ground black or white pepper, soy sauce, or vinegar (add them in step 2).