Pork Binagoongan is a boldly-flavored Filipino dish that’s quite simple and easy to make. Tender pork belly with a rich, savory shrimp paste sauce bursting with umami and salty flavors. It’s perfect with lots of steamed rice, so be prepared to pig out (pun intended)!
Though it can be an acquired taste for some, I grew up loving its strong, bold salty flavor. It is very economical, as a small portion of Binagoongan could go a long way and you might need it with extra servings of rice.
What is Binagoongan?
Binagoongan is a Filipino method of cooking where meat and/or veggies are cooked with "bagoong" sometimes called "alamang", a condiment made of fermented fish or shrimp paste. Binagoongan na Baboy mainly uses pork but using chicken and eggplants are also common. As with most Filipino dishes, there could be many regional varieties. I cooked mine with vinegar, while others prefer adding coconut cream to tone down the saltiness and make it creamy. I also know some who add pineapple tidbits to add sweetness to the dish.
A regional dish called Bicol Express is similar to this one. The main difference is that has coconut milk and is intended to be very spicy. Other popular Filipino dishes that use bagoong are Pinakbet and Dinengdeng.
Notes for this Pork Binagoongan Recipe
- Taste-test your bagoong before using it. Some may be saltier than others, so you have an idea of how to make adjustments with the rest of the ingredients.
- I used pork belly cuts for this recipe because they have a good balance of fat and meat. But feel free to use other pork parts you prefer. You can also use chicken or beef.
- Do not stir once the vinegar is added to the pork. Let it simmer until the acidity burns off. The vinegar will balance out the saltiness of the shrimp paste.
- Boil the meat until they are fork-tender before adding them to the shrimp paste mixture. Once you start cooking the shrimp paste with tomatoes, it will be a fairly quick process because over-cooking it will make the bagoong too salty.
- You can make it as spicy as you like by adding red or green chilies. You can also add more veggies like eggplants, string beans, carrots or potatoes if you want to make it healthier and more substantial.
What to serve it with?
Pork Binagoongan has that signature salty and umami-filled flavor profile, which is why it’s best eaten with steamed white rice and is most likely never eaten on its own. Serve it with fried eggplant and steamed okra. I like eating this with a side of sliced green mangoes or Ensaladang Mangga, a simple green mango salad tossed with chopped tomatoes and onions. Another dish that would be a perfect accompaniment is Kare-Kare.
Pork Binagoongan Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 1 kilo pork belly cut into thick strips
- ¾ cup vinegar
- ⅓ cup oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 5 small tomatoes
- 1 cup uncooked shrimp paste -more or less
- 1 cup water, 1 kilo pork bellyIn a pot, boil pork belly cuts over medium-high heat. Cover with lid and cook until fork-tender.
- ¾ cup vinegarReduce heat to low and add the vinegar. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.
- ⅓ cup oil, 4 cloves garlic, 1 medium onion, 5 small tomatoesIn a wide skillet, saute garlic and onion in oil over medium heat until they are aromatic. Add the tomatoes and cook until are soft and easy to mash.
- 1 cup uncooked shrimp pasteAdd and stir the shrimp paste and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add back the pork with the remaining liquids and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.