This authentic Igado recipe is a delicious mix of pork liver and meat plus select vegetables simmered in a rich and flavorful spiced soy-vinegar blend. It is perfect with steamed rice for lunch or dinner.
This wonderful recipe was shared with us by Chef Chris during our short stint working together. Can't get more authentic than this as he is half-Ilocano himself.
What is Igado?
Also called "Higado", which is a Spanish term for liver, this spiced pork liver dish is one of Ilocos' food pride together with Pinakbet, Papaitan, and Dinakdakan. It is mainly made with pork liver mixed with some tenderloin cuts and innards such as heart and kidney. It is traditionally cooked with vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, green peas. Though there are other veggies that can be used such as labanos (radish), potato, carrot, ginger, and chilies (siling haba).
This Ilocano dish is likened to another Filipino favorite- the Menudo. It is probably because of the similarities in ingredients and flavor of the dishes. The difference lies in the component of sauce used to make them. While Menudo is simmered in tomato sauce, Igado uses a soy-vinegar and sometimes fish sauce. It can be described as a cross between Menudo and Adobo.
Foxy Tips when cooking Igado
- Do not overcook the liver! Add it at the final stages of cooking using medium-low fire so it does not turn tough and rubbery.
- Refrain from stirring and covering the pot once the vinegar is added for a few minutes. This will allow the sharpness to dissipate.
- If you want some fats in your meat, you can also use pork belly.
- If using innards, make sure to clean them up properly but gently using running water.
- 3-4 tablespoon annatto oil or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 500 grams pork belly cut into strips
- 500 grams pork liver cut into strips
- 2 ½ cup water
- ¾ cup vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 piece bay leaf
- 1 medium carrot julienned
- 1 small white radish julienned
- 1 small green bell pepper julienned
- 1 small red bell pepper julienned
- ¾ cup frozen green peas thawed
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Saute onion and garlic in annato oil. Add the liempo and cook until the pieces turn light brown then add the liver. Par-cook for three minutes and season to taste.
- Pour in 1 ½ cup water. Let it boil then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered until all liquids are almost gone. Turn the heat up to high, then add the vinegar. (Do not stir at any point during this stage.) Lower heat to medium once the acid from the vinegar diffuses. Stir briefly then remove the liver and set aside.
- Add the soy sauce, bay leaves, carrots, white radish, and bell peppers. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add back the liver and pour about 1 cup water. Add the green peas and let them simmer until vegetables are cooked.
- Turn the heat off and transfer it to a serving dish. Serve with steaming hot rice.
Chicken or calf's liver can also be used but if they are also not available then add some liver spread will have to do.
No, ypu can any oil you like but annatto oil adds a subtle but distinct flavor and appetizing color to the dish.
You can but annatto or achuete oil in the supermarket or online. But you can make it yourself by cooking ¼ cup annatto seeds in ½ cup of hot oil for several minutes and then removing the seeds. Keep the excess for other use.
Potato is also more commonly used in Igado if you do not like radish.