What Visayan Star is This? Pork Humba
Well, many would argue that Pork Humba’s origin is not Visayas. Some say that the first syllable of the word is derived from “humot” (a bisaya word meaning “sweet smelling”) and the second syllable is from “baboy” (a bisaya word meaning “pig” or “pork”). Others believe that the word came from the Chinese dish called “Hong-Ba” – a stewed pork belly dish usually paired with cua pao (steamed dough similar to the dough used for siopao) and is similar in terms of taste, recipe and preparation.
Does it really matter? Regardless of history, to a person coming from the Visayas, Humba has always been known as a Visayan comfort food. Though similar with the adobo recipe, humba in itself has more to offer. The combination of soy sauce, vinegar and salted black beans make this dish delicious and savory.
This popular Filipino dish reminds us of culture. Remember the aroma of this dish filling your whole house as it is being cooked in your very own kitchen back in the Philippines? Remember how our appetites would increase whenever Humba was served at home or in parties?
We know that many Filipinos must miss this dish dearly, so we have a recipe we want to share with you. We hope you would enjoy this as you reminisce the good old days of family meals back home.
2 lbs pork belly (cut in desired portions – cube chunks sizes)
1 white onion (chopped)
1 big bulb of garlic (minced)
1/2 cup soy sauce
2/3 cups vinegar (palm or cane vinegar for authenticity)
3/4 tablespoon black pepper (ground)
1/2 cup white or brown sugar (optional substitute: 1 1/2 cup Coca Cola or Sprite)
7 bay leaves
7 star anise
1 cup water
1/2 cup salted black beans (drain juice but save 3 tablespoons of it)
Cooking oil (optional)
Salt (add to taste)
- Separate fatty meat from the lean ones. Place fatty chunks on pan and add about half a cup of water. Cover with lid and bring to boil. Keep boiling until the fat reduces to oil and the meat brown. Stir at intervals to avoid burning. Do not throw away the oil from the fat (save oil to use later in step 3).
- On a separate pan, boil the rest of the pork chunks in 1-2 cups water making sure the pork is submerged. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and boil till meat is tender and stock (water) is reduced to half of its original volume. Separate water and meat. (water will be used later in step 4)
- Heat the pork fat oil (see #1) and saute garlic and onion until they’re brown. Add all the pork meat into the pan. Stir fry until meat is golden brown.
- Add the water that was used in boiling the pork (see #2). Add the soy sauce, sugar (or soda), bay leaves, star anise, ground black pepper and the black beans with its sauce. Bring to a boil until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add vinegar but do not stir. Boil for about 3 more minutes. Simmer until sauce is thick in consistency. Taste to make your own balance of taste (add necessary ingredient to increase desired sourness, sweetness or the black pepper taste).
Serve and enjoy!