Igado Recipe – You’ll find no shortage of recipes in Filipino cuisine that uses all parts of protein. One of these dishes is Igado. Igado, also known as “Higado” in Spanish, is a popular spiced pork liver dish from the Ilocos region. Alongside culinary delights like Pinakbet, Papaitan, and Dinakdakan, Igado is special in Filipino food culture. This flavorful dish combines pork liver, tenderloin cuts, and other organs like the heart and kidney. Traditionally, it is prepared by incorporating vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and green peas. However, variations of Igado may include additional ingredients like radish, ginger, and chili peppers (siling haba).
The dish is often compared to another beloved Filipino dish called Menudo. The similarity between the two lies in their ingredients and flavor profiles. However, the main difference lies in the type of sauce used. Menudo is typically cooked in tomato sauce, whereas Igado is prepared with a soy-vinegar base and occasionally includes fish sauce. This unique combination of flavors gives Igado a distinct taste, making it a delightful blend of Menudo and Adobo. If you want to try your hand at this dish, you can test our Igado Recipe:
- 1 pound pork tenderloin cut into ½ inch strips
- ½ cup vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 onion peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon cracked peppercorns
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 small red bell pepper cored, seeded, and sliced into strips
- 1 cup water
- 1 pound beef liver cut into ½ inch strips
- ½ cup frozen green peas thawed
- 1 pinch salt add to taste
- 1 pinch pepper add to taste
- In a bowl, combine the pork strips, vinegar, soy sauce, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and cracked peppercorns. Allow it to marinate for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Drain the meat from the marinade, squeezing out any excess liquid. Keep the marinade and aromatics aside.
- Heat the canola oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove and set them aside.
- In the same pan, add the marinated pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the color changes.
- Add the onions, garlic, cracked peppercorns, and bay leaves (from the marinade) and cook until they are softened and the pork is lightly browned.
- Pour in the reserved marinade and bring it to a boil, uncovered and without stirring, for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add water and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pork is tender and the liquid is reduced.
- Stir in the beef liver gently and continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the liver is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
- Add the green peas and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through.
- Finally, add the bell peppers back to the pan and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until they are tender yet crisp.
- Season with salt to taste. Serve the dish hot.
Other Notes for an Igado Recipe
When preparing this dish, it is recommended to choose lean tenderloin as the preferred meat, but pork belly or Boston butt can be used as alternatives if you prefer a fattier cut. To ensure even cooking, it is important to cut the pork and liver into uniform strips. When making the vinegar marinade, allow it to boil uncovered and undisturbed for a few minutes before adding water to cook off the strong acidic taste.
To prevent the liver from becoming tough and chewy, add it during the last 4 to 5 minutes of cooking time. The natural “blood” in the liver will help thicken the sauce. Additionally, generously season the dish with freshly-cracked pepper, as it plays a significant role in the flavor profile. For those who enjoy some heat, chopped finger chilies (siling haba) can also be added.
If you want to try other Filipino pork dishes, check out our Pork Giniling Recipe and Humba Recipe. You can also test out our Pakistani Mixed Vegetable Curry and Mutton Leg Roast recipes if you want to explore other cuisines.