Igado is a popular dish from the Ilocos region made from pork tenderloin, pork liver, and vegetables. It closely resembles another famous Filipino dish, menudo, but the main difference lies in the sauce: menudo is a tomato-based stew, while igado gets its unique flavors from a soy-vinegar-based sauce.
Another ingredient that makes the igado flavor profile unique is the pork liver. In fact, the name igado is from the Spanish word hígado, which means liver. The earthy flavor of pork liver, mixed with just the right balance of the salty and sour soy-vinegar sauce, gives this dish a strong, complex flavor profile that leaves you wanting more.
If you are not used to cooking innards, the igado recipe below is perfect as it only uses pork liver; but if you are more adventurous, you could also add pork kidney and heart! Just make sure to clean the innards well before cooking. Depending on your local market, you might be able to buy pre-cleaned kidneys; in this case, simply soak them in salted water for 10 minutes before cooking to remove any smells. If you get whole kidneys, slice them in half and remove the white part in the middle before soaking and slicing. The heart and liver can be easily cleaned under running water.
Pro Tip: Avoid overcooking the innards by adding these towards the end, after the pork tenderloin has softened. Innards don’t take as long to cook. Once they have completely lost their pink hue and turned brown, they are done!
Vegetables such as green peas and red bell peppers not only add beautiful and vibrant colors to the dish but also complement the earthy taste of pork liver and add a fresh bite to the dish. If you enjoy an extra kick of spiciness in your dishes, you can be generous with the peppercorns, too.
And of course, don’t forget to serve your igado with lots of hot steamed rice!
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 piece onion peeled and sliced thinly
- 4 to 5 cloves Garlic peeled and minced
- 1 kilo pork (use pork tenderloin), cut into ½ inch strips
- 8 to 10 pieces peppercorns cracked
- 1/2 Cup Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
- 1 Cup water
- 1/2 kilo pork (use liver), cut into ½ inch strips
- 1/2 Cup green peas thawed
- 1 piece red bell pepper cored, seeded and sliced into strips
- Salt to taste
- In a pre-heated pan, add oil and saute garlic and onion. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes.
- Season with black peppercorns, soy sauce and vinegar. Add the water, simmer for about 10 minutes or until pork is tender.
- Add liver, stirring gently, and continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until liver is cooked through and sauce is thickened. Add green peas and bell peppers and continue to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt to taste.