In the early morning of the first day of the year, I remember waking up to a thick blanket of white smoke that lingered outside. Everything reeked of firecrackers. The remains of the revelry of the night before cluttered the streets.

It has always been a Filipino tradition to welcome the New Year with a big bang — literally, with sparklers, Roman candles, and hardcore pyrotechnics. The bigger the bang, the better. They say firecrackers ward off bad spirits and reel in prosperity in the New Year. I was too frightened to light a firecracker when I was a kid and so I always ended up screaming “Happy New Year!” at the top of my lungs and shaking my piggy bank spiritedly while jumping up and down when the clock stroke twelve.  Those were Filipino superstitions, too. Loud noise drives unwanted spirits away. Shaking a piggy bank brings abundance.  Jumping up and down helps one get taller. The higher one jumps, the taller one gets, which obviously wasn’t as effective as I hoped.

In the early morning of the first day of the year, I remember waking up to the sizzle of embutido frying in a pan in the kitchen.  Year after year, my mom makes embutido for the Holidays.  She mixes ground pork and chorizo with carrots, raisins and pickle relish, forms them into logs, wraps them in aluminum foil, and steams them.  Whenever my sisters and their families come for a visit, she always makes sure they leave with plenty of embutido to take home.  She believes anything round — fruits, sweets, and embutido sliced into round disks — brings good luck in the New Year.  Looking back, I’m actually quite relieved to recall that my mom never made me wear polka dots during the Holidays when I was a kid. What a relief! Thanks, mom.

Once steamed, embutido freezes well for up to a month. Slice them into half-inch round disks and fry them until the edges get lightly seared to a delicious crisp.

Making Embutido

1-1/2 lb ground pork
1 pork chorizo, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pickle relish or finely chopped sweet pickles
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the steamer or preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Take a small portion and fry it on a pan. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper to suit your taste.

Divide the ground pork into four equal portions. Cut four 10-inch-long sheets of aluminum foil. Place the meat in the center of the sheet of aluminum foil and form the meat into a log that is roughly 6-inches long. Roll the aluminum foil and seal both ends snugly. Wrap the remaining ground pork.

Steam until the pork is cooked through, 40 to 50 minutes. If you don’t have a steamer, you can use a baking pan and wire racks. Fill the pan with half-inch-deep water and lay the embutido on wire racks placed on the pan. Steam bake until the pork is cooked through, about one hour.

Embutido Steps

Cooking Notes:

1. Pork is fully cooked when the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. When steaming, it takes about 40 to 50 minutes to fully cook the pork but when steam baking it takes longer, about one hour.

2. Ham and hotdogs can be used in place of pork chorizo.

3. Slice the embutido into half-inch round disks and fry them until the edges get lightly seared to a crisp. Serve with rice and ketchup.


  • Charissa (Zest Bakery)

    I love the addition of the rasins and the relish. Sounds so wonderful.

    The look of those radishes are amazing too.

    Happy New Year!

  • Amelia from Z Tasty Life

    Annual traditions are a treasure to maintain: it’s what links us to our past and that of our families.
    Raisins! what a great addition…they add them to Sicilian meatballs, together with pine-nuts. And what a great way to cook it. I think the steaming must keep it wonderfully moist.
    Happy new year Jun!

  • Lemons and Anchovies

    Oh my gosh, this is one of my filipino favorites. I’ve never tried to make it but now that you’ve posted a recipe, why not? It has to be fried so the edges are crisp, right? Yours looks perfect, Jun. Now I’m totally hungry and my granola and fruit just won’t be as satisfying now. :-)

    Happy New Year!

  • Xai Losito

    my oh my. this makes me want to make embutido again. happy new year jun!!!

  • Bianca Garcia

    Yummm. Very nice, Jun. I always wore polka dots for NYE haha. One of my best friends made embutido for Thanksgiving (we were jokingly calling it “American meatloaf”) and it indeed brought back nice memories of the Philippines.

  • Mhel B

    A Pinoy Style meatloaf!! Yummy! Good job Jun!

  • Arnold Gatilao

    Thanks for this. I want to make this soon but I’m going omit the raisins and add an egg and use Vienna sausages. :)

  • Jun Belen

    But the raisins, Arnold, are the best part of embutido!! :-) My mom uses vienna sausages, too! Straight from the can!

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you, Charissa! Hope you and Patrick had a wonderful Holiday! Happy New Year!

  • Prerna@IndianSimmer

    We have a similar tradition of lighting candles and fire crackers to scare away evil spirits in India although thr’s a festival for that. But love to know about different culture and how similar all are.
    That’s a really great recipe Jun! I’m sure ur mom would be very proud.

  • Arnold Gatilao

    I’m so not down with the cooked raisins. I always picked them out of of my mom’s torta, too. :)

  • elizabethq

    Yummy! Great idea for New Year’s fare & beyond. Thanks for posting.

  • Enrico Limcaco

    Stunning photography, especially the radish slices.

  • cecile

    no hardboiled eggs in it??? yummy! i had one in manila recently!

  • CarolineAdobo

    I remember my mom made embutido with hotdogs, hehe. She would make tons & give them out as gifts. I also remember wearing polka dots :) Happy New Year Jun!

  • Ateana

    Jun, looks good but you making me gutom naaaaaaa. Keep posting Filipino food!

  • Beth (OMG! Yummy)

    Jun – been meaning to come by and read about this since I saw it posted the other day. I’ve only cooked Adobo and want to learn more about cooking Filipino food. This looks so interesting – the steaming then frying and the raisins and carrots and chorizo. I bet the portuguese sausage in my fridge right now might work well too. My hubby and daughter love pickles too. Thanks for sharing your New Year’s tradition.

    So how did that Christmas pie turn out?

  • Sean

    Looks/sounds so good. Never seen a meatloaf so far out of the regular old American-style orbit. Nice way to start the New Year, hope yours is fantastic.

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you, Beth! Happy New Year! I’m a bit embarrassed to report that I chickened out and let Dennis made the crust for our pumpkin pie over Christmas. I made the filling though which was extra good! :-) I just need to muster enough courage to make my own pie crust. Soon, I hope!

  • Jun Belen

    Happy New Year, Carol! Yes, my mom used hotdogs, too! Ham, hotdog, and vienna sausage.

  • Jun Belen

    My mom never adds hardboiled eggs. I’ve seen so many versions with embutido stuffed with eggs and vienna sausages. Hope you had a great trip back home!

  • Annapet Santos

    No way I haven’t commented on my favorite Filipino dish of all! I’ve looked at this post at least a dozen times! Sorry, Ninang is late sa party!

    Thank you for sharing your recipe! I have to make this soon. Happy New Year, Jun!

  • Liren

    Oh, another favorite! There’s nothing better than the sweetness of the raisins in this savory meatloaf!

  • Jackie

    Oh hello! This looks much more up my alley than regular meatloaf – I’ve never been a huge fan, it’s always too dry and the ingredients far too… blah – but this I could definitely get behind!

    Happy New Year Jun, hopefully see you soon!

    Jax x

  • Cusinera

    wow jun, excellent pics as always…keeps me going back just to drool over your embutido pics. when I make my embutido, I add a bit of grated cheese, next time I cook embutido will try that caul fat thing were you wrap around the embutido instead of foil…they say in the olden times that’s what they use=)

  • Alisa

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’ve always wanted to make this.

  • Jack

    Looks like a good and easy recipe i will try this .

  • Michelle Mista

    Oh, memories. I have so many fond memories of my dad mixing up a huge bowl of the meat mixture and boiling a huge pot of these. My dad has always done the hot dog/vienna sausages but I’m excited to try this version with chorizo!

  • Jun Belen

    Happy New Year, Michelle!

  • liza

    i am not a good cook,but i will try this one.

  • Mike

    The chorizo was a great addition to this recipe!

    Btw, I’d like to share my moms cooking technique. Instead of rolling it in aluminum foil and steaming it or baking it. She simply rolls up the meat then browns the roll in a large pan on all sides. Once it’s all browned, she places it inside a pot where she previously started to make a tomato sauce (for pasta) and leaves it there while the sauce simmers about 1 1/2 hours or 2. The results are great and you get left over tomato sauce with great flavor from the embutido.
    Give it a try some time and thanks for your recipe :)

  • Jun Belen

    Mike, thank you for writing and for sharing your mom’s technique. I’m going to try it this weekend!