When I was little, I had a debilitating aversion for vinegar.  My mom often cooks with cane vinegar to make stews like adobo and paksiw, which I have always loved, but vinegar in its pure form was what I found utterly repulsive.  I detested how its pungent vapor climbs up the back of my nose and fills my mouth with a lingering, biting taste.  Vinegar with chicharrón?  No, thank you. I cringed whenever my dad dipped his ukoy (shrimp fritters) in a pool of vinegar and wolfed them down with ice-cold San Miguel beer.  He kept a stash of vinegar infused with siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies) in a tall bottle in our pantry, which I never dared lay my hands on.

You can just imagine the torment I had to endure when I had mumps and my mom wrapped my jaws with a towel soaked in vinegar.  The foolproof home remedy promised relief from pain and swelling but all I fervently prayed for was relief from the vinegar’s keenly distressing smell.  My mom even tried masking the obnoxious scent by mixing vinegar with my favorite cologne but, alas, my misery prevailed.

Apart from vinegar, nothing else fazed me at the dinner table as a kid.  I was a fearless eater and still am, who will try almost anything.  Fish heads? Bring it on. Beef tripe? Sure, why not. Pig ears? Pass the ears, please.  My mom cooked everything from beef tongue to pork liver and I willingly obliged to taste and try whatever was on my plate.  Even pig’s blood.

Dugo [doo-goh] is Filipino for blood.  Dinuguan [dee-noo-goo-ahn] is blood stew.  Meat and innards are simmered in vinegar and fresh blood.  Yes, you heard right, fresh blood.  Filipinos are incredibly frugal and resourceful.  While making ends meet, my people leave no food to waste and use every part of a bird or a pig even its own blood.

The versions of dinuguan, like any Filipino dish, are as varied as the Philippine islands.  Most versions use pork.  Some use beef while others use chicken.  Most cook only with vinegar while some add coconut milk.  Even its name varies from island to island.  Dinardaraan in Ilocos. Tid-tad in Pampanga. Sinunggaok in Batangas. Sampayna in Northern Mindanao.

The pig’s stomach, intestines, heart, snout, cheeks, and ears are cut into pieces and are all thrown into the mix together with the pig’s meatier butt and belly.  The meat and offal are slowly simmered in vinegar seasoned with salt, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and hot chilies.  The pig’s blood is then added to the simmering stew while it is stirred steadily to keep the blood from curdling. The blood stew is served over a heap of steamed rice with shrimp paste or fish sauce.  The fusion of acid and spice also makes dinuguan a perfect match for the subtly sweet steamed rice cakes called puto.

Dinuguan may sound intimidating or even appalling for some.  It has pork blood, for crying out loud!  But the heat and acid magically transform the blood into a thick, deep brown, savory sauce that simply begs to be tried.  Like what my mom used to tell me, you’ll never know if you’ll like it until you give it a try.

 

Dinuguan

 

Dinuguan Recipe, makes four servings

1 lb pork butt or pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
1 cup pork blood
1 to 2 Thai chilies

Brown pork in oil or its own fat in a pot over medium to high heat. Transfer the pork to a plate as they finish browning. Saute garlic, onions, and tomatoes until fragrant and softened, about 5 minutes.  Place the pork back into the pot.   Add vinegar, water, and salt but do not stir.  Bring to a boil and simmer until pork is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Add blood while  stirring the pot steadily to keep the blood from curdling. Add the chilies and bring to a boil.  Simmer until stew has thickened, about five minutes.  Add salt to taste.

Cooking Notes:

1. Use equal parts pork butt and pork belly. The fat in the pork belly eliminates the need for canola oil and adds more flavor to the blood stew.

2. For the adventurous, in addition to pork butt and belly throw in some pork entrails like stomach, intestines, heart, and even the pig’s snout, cheeks, and ears. Just make sure your source of pork offal can be trusted.

 

Dinuguan

Dinuguan

 

Learn the alphabet of Filipino food through our glossary. So much is lost in translation, I know, but I hope this glossary will help those unfamiliar with Filipino food become more informed.

A is for Achuete
B is for Barako Coffee
C is for Camarón
D is for Dinuguan

  • http://twitter.com/effingdericious Daniel

    i love dinuguan!  have you ever tried making it with coconut milk? that’s my favorite :)

  • http://twitter.com/MelanioFlaneur Melanio F.

    Hi Jun,

    Nice to have the recipe and the background with your aversion to one of our main staple ingredients, vinegar in its raw form in a sense (lol!).  Love the recipes, and the ABCs.  Dinuguan with puto was always the treat in the Philippines when I was young.  Note, though I have never used shrimp paste with dinuguan, it was always fish sauce.  I guess each region adds condiments that they like to the dish as long as its salty and pungent.  Wonderful blog by the way.  

  • SamanthaFoodGeek

    This is terrific. I didn’t know about dinuguan’s many different names! Great post and the pictures look wonderful. Wish I could reach into my computer and get a spoonful!

  • Amelia from z tasty life

    strong, in many ways!!!

  • http://www.spicesnaroma.blogspot.com Vijitha Shyam

    Loved the pictures and the ABCs. We make a stew with lamb’s blood as many Hindu’s in India avoide pork and beef in their cooking.

    I am having a summer drink giveaway in my blog. Do check it out when you get a chance.

  • Jo Boston

    I love dinuguan to this day.  My Inang would bring me with her to the City/Powell Area and we would always go to the same Filipino restaurant and eat one of two things there: dinardaraan or papaitan. This dish reminds me of my childhood so much! I am so happy you did a post on it.  ESPECIALLY with the raw blood in the jar!

  • http://kitchenconfidante.com Liren

    Dinuguan is my absolute favorite, perhaps of all the dishes I grew up eating. I used to ask my parents to bring me quarts of it to the dorms when they visited me in college. And of course, they had to bring the puto, too. I do love the vinegar based dinuguan, which is how my dad’s side makes it. But my mom’s family favors a heavier tomato base for that asim flavor. So interesting to know of all the varieties!

  • Tracey@Tangled Noodle

    Dinuguan is now a personal favorite after a childhood spent avoiding it at every opportunity. The big trend here in Manila is ‘crispy dinuguan’ – essentially chicharron or fried pork are added in addition to or in lieu of the more tender cuts. It’s appealing, but my husband and I prefer the classic preparation, such as your recipe.

    Kudos for producing lovely photographs of both the blood and the finished dish – not an easy task! I bet it tastes as wonderfully savory as it looks… 8-)

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Daniel.  I’ve never had it with coconut milk but now that you’ve mentioned it I am intrigued.

  • http://twitter.com/thedailypalette The Daily Palette

    I love dinuguan and I passed that on to Juanchito already!  Perhaps I’ll make some this weekend.  Thanks, Jun ;-) .

  • http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com/ Bianca Garcia

    I love tidtad! I’ve loved vinegar for as long as I can remember and your first paragraph had me craving for chicharon hehe

  • Lala

    yum! tid-tad is oh so awesome!  and you’re right, we don’t put any meat parts to waste at all.  now i want some puto and tid-tad for dinner but i’ll have to settle for something else…for now.  sarap, Babs :)

    -Celine

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Jo! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and that it reminded you of home.  How different is dinardaraan from the Tagalog dinuguan?  It’s also made with pork, right?

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Melanio.  It’s amazing how varied the versions of dinuguan are throughout the country — pork, chicken, or beef; seasoning with salt or fish sauce; and even adding coconut milk.  So many different versions!  But we all agree that it pairs pretty damn well with puto! Thank you for following the blog!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Tracey!  Last year, when I was home for a very short visit in February, a friend of mine mentioned the craze around crispy dinuguan.  He described it as lechon kawali with dinuguan sauce.  My trip was so short and sadly I wasn’t able to try it. Maybe next time.

  • Francisco Magdaraog

    Discovered your blog recently and I really love this ABC series you’re doing. I’m a California-born Filipino (and late-blooming eater, to boot) trying to learn everything I can about our wonderful cuisine, and it’s a great complement to the few Filipino cookbooks I have. 

  • http://www.asianinamericamag.com Betty Ann fr Asianinamericamag

    Jun, your photos are D for Divine. Dinuguan is pretty hard to photograph, but you’re a genius at this. As always, I love this post. I love the D, but am not very brave to make it. You’ve just inspired me again. Thanks for sharing. Another classic Jun Belen which I’ll remind my sons to look up next time they ask me about Dinuguan.

  • http://twitter.com/riceandwheat angi

    Wow! This is adventurous indeed. I have to admit that I’ve never been too fond of pig blood, as it is usually cooked in Chinese form (kind of like jello cubes). But this looks tasty… Hmm, am I turning into a vampire?? By the way, I don’t think I’ve said it yet but I’m absolutely loving the Filipino food alphabet series. 

  • http://saberkite.com saberkite

    I grew to like vinegar over time. It’s not something that I love still, mind you, but I appreciate it more now especially if it’s the likes of sukang Iloco to add more punch to my breakfast of Vigan longganisa. Though I couldn’t understand why some people prefer it over bagoong with green mangoes. :)

    And dinuguaan! Admittedly, if I had another food choice on the dinner table, it would be the last thing I’d pick. But my mom makes great dinuguaan, something she got from my grandma, so I eat that. True, it doesn’t look very appetizing, but like vinegar, it’ll grow on you.

  • MissTdJ

    As a fan of Dinuguan, I’ve long accepted that many Filipino dishes aren’t exactly photogenic. But… Hot DAMN, Jun… you really CAN make anything look amazing!

  • Sean

    when we were little in Hawaii the kids the lady next door made the kids drink diluted vinegar water instead of milk. Bet you’re glad you weren’t in that family.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    She is definitely one mean lady!

  • EdithBpalma

    my dear brother, we are opposites, i love vinegar so much. There are plenty of varieties available in the supermarket here in Manila, there’s Sinamak, Way Kurat something, Sukang Paombong, etc etc my favorite is the sinamak, when we dine out i always choose a viand with vinegar (sometimes mixed with soy sauce and kalamansi, Gerry’s grill’s version is with ginger, taste’s heavenly)  as my ‘sawsawan’

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Jello-ish blood cubes? Now that’s an entirely different story! Thank you, Angi.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Francisco! I’m glad you are enjoying the blog and the alphabet series.  Our cuisine sadly has not received the attention it so rightly deserves.  I’m hoping painting a different picture of our ingredients and flavor profiles will help Filipinos who grew up here in America like yourself, Filipino transplants like myself, and non-Filipinos as well appreciate our wonderful cuisine.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Liren.  I’m really amazed with the various versions.  Daniel mentioned adding coconut milk and you just wrote about how your mom’s family adds tomatoes.  So interesting, indeed.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    The frantic search for pork blood in the East Bay paid off.  Thank you for helping in the search!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I would have to track down Sinamak here in California.  The way you described it makes me want to try it on chicharron after all these years! Thank you, my dear sister!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Trina! Dinuguan was tough to photograph but I’m glad the images turned out fantastic, if I can say so myself.  I’m working on how to make kare-kare prettier.  I think that’ll be more challenging!

  • http://www.apronandsneakers.com Weng Dumlao

    Even dinuguan looks so beautiful when you photograph them.  My compliments!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Weng!

  • http://chezus.com Chez Us

    Jun, I have to say you made pork blood look awfully sexy in these photos.  I grew up in a 1/2 Basque home where everything was eaten as well … I just could not get past the “blood” part to try the sausages, etc…  

  • http://twitter.com/bakerstreet29 BakerStreet

    I stopped reading at pork blood and quickly saw pictures again. Lol. 

  • http://80breakfasts.blogspot.com/ joey

    Wow!  These must be the most attractive dinuguan photos I have ever seen!  Bravo!  So happy to find another Filipino food blogger…I’ll be visiting again :)

  • Aileen

    That is a gorgeous jar of blood! Never thought I’d say that.  I can’t say dinuguan is my favorite dish, actually it’s because I,too, have had an aversion to vinegar.  But I’m growing to like it more.  My favorite part of having dinuguan, though, is the puto :)  

  • Pingback: E is for Ensaimada (Filipino-Style Brioche) | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: Food blog: Kanin Club « For the love of life.music.food

  • Pingback: L is for Longganisa (Filipino-Style Sausage) | Jun-Blog

  • http://suchfunthings.blogspot.com Kaye

    My grandma who grew up in Nagcarlan, Laguna cooks a traditional dinuguan. But she also cooks a version with coconut milk and bamboo shoots. And when I was little as far as I remember my grandma has made a version using kalabaw meat which has to simmer all day.

  • Pingback: N is for Noche Buena | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: O is for Omelet and How to Make Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelet) | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: P is for Pancit Palabok | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: H is for Himagas and How to Make Brazo de Mercedes | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: Q is for Queso and How to Make Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream and Peanut Brittle | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: F is for Fish Balls and How to Make Sweet and Sour Sauce | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: J is for Jackfruit and How to Make Pan de Sal Bread Pudding | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: K is for Kamayan and How to Make Fish Paksiw | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: R is for Relleno and How to Make Rellenong Alimasag (Filipino-style Stuffed Crabs) | Jun-Blog

  • Kristine Komlosy

    I think i have to eliminate eating dinuguan. I used to love it but when i see now in your website that you put bloody red pigs blood. I don’t like it anymore. Guess it was better eating it and not seeing how its done, its more delicious that way :) I’m gonna try your bagoong pork! Your photos are really awesome.

  • Pingback: Giada De Laurentiis’s Filipino Chicken Adobo, Cultural Appropriation and the White Savior « Travel, Food & Booze: Sarahlynn Pablo