Dinuguan comes from the root word dugo, or blood. This dish is so named because it is a stew made with the blood of a freshly-slaughtered pig.
But… blood? Sure. Blood. Cooking with blood is nothing new and not even unique to the Philippines. Dishes cooked with blood are found in various cuisines — Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, British, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Scandinavian… Blood sausages — Spanish and Mexican morcilla, French boudin noir and British black pudding, for example — are made with animal blood.
Dinuguan is traditionally cooked using a mixture of pork offal (parts of the head, lungs, intestines, liver, spleen and kidneys). How thick or thin the stew is depends on the regional origin.
Up north in the Ilocos region, dinuguan is called dinardaraan and the stew is dry is oily. In the Pampanga province, dinuguan is soupy. The most known variant, simply called dinuguan, has a thick but pourable sauce.
Dinuguan (Pork Blood Stew)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 500 grams pork belly cut into one-inch cubes
- 500 grams pork cheeks cut into one-inch cubes
- ⅓ cup vinegar
- 1 whole head garlic peeled and minced
- 2 thumb-sized knobs ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 2 shallots (or one onion), peeled and roughly chopped
- 5 to 6 finger chilies
- fish sauce (or salt) to taste
- pepper to taste
- 2 to 4 cups fresh pork blood
- ¼ kilogram pork liver thinly sliced
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan.
- Add the pork belly and cheeks, and cook over high heat, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink.
- Pour in the vinegar. Stir.
- Cook, uncovered, until the vinegar has been absorbed by the pork, and the pork has started to render fat.
- Cook the pork in the mixture of cooking oil and rendered fat for a few minutes.
- Add the garlic, shallots (or onion), ginger and chilies.
- Season with fish sauce (or salt) and pepper. Stir.
- Cook until the vegetables soften.
- Pour in the blood (see notes after the recipe). Stir. Bring to the boil (the blood will turn from red to brown as it cooks).
- Lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour or until the pork is done.
- The sauce will reduce and thicken as it cooks, don’t be tempted to add water unless you want a soupy dinuguan.
- Taste the stew from time to time and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
- When the pork is tender, add the liver. Stir. Simmer for another ten minutes.
- Garnish the dinuguan with slices of chili and scallions before serving.
- Serve as a main dish with rice, or as a snack with sweet rice cakes.