Given my occasional penchant for making up odd names for dishes I create, you may be excused for thinking that ‘Binagoongan’ falls into that category. Actually, the word ‘Binagoongan’ , in Filipino cuisine, means that a given dish is made using a ‘Bagoong ‘, and the pairing of fermented shrimp paste with Pork is a firm favorite in the Philippines.
Naturally, as with all classics, there are countless variations on the basic theme… Some renditions are basically sautés with very little sauce, whilst other are more like braises or stews. Generally, the ingredient list, beyond the pork and shrimp paste, tends toward the simple, with onions garlic, and a little chili being the most common additions. Some, but not all recipes, use tomatoes, whilst sugar and vinegar are almost invariably added in order to offset the saltiness of the Bagoong. Here, I use quite a bit of tomato, and the end result is heavy on the sweet and sour…
- 1 1/2lbs. Pork in 1 ½” cubes (I am using Pork Shoulder);
- 2 cups fresh Tomatoes, chopped;
- ½ cup minced Onion;
- 1 tbsp. minced Garlic;
- ½ cup Bagoong (or other fermented shrimp paste);
- ½ cup Vinegar;
- 6 tbsp. Sugar;
- 1 tsp. Chili paste (or to taste).
First, heat a little oil in a pan over moderate high heat and quickly brown the pork cubes in two or three batches. Remove to a bowl and set aside for now.
Next, saute the garlic and onion in a fresh glug of oil until soft and then add the tomatoes.
Cook the tomatoes over a fairly high heat until they break down and form a sauce. Add the Bagoong, sugar, vinegar, sugar and chili paste and stir to blend the flavors.
Finally add the pork and simmer for about 20 minutes or so. If the sauce is a little thin at this point, turn up the heat again and reduce as desired. At this point, you can serve as is but the result will be much better if you chill everything overnight and re-heat for service the next day.