Crispy Sisig Pork Belly and Beef Tendons

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The first sisig I cooked was ages ago way back in my mom’s kitchen – I roasted a pig’s head for dinner then chopped the leftover cheeks and ears.  I stir in mashed pig’s brain to make it sinfully creamy and assembled the dish in a sizzling plate with chopped raw onions, soy sauce, kalamansi juice and a raw egg.  I must have followed a recipe from my high school home economics book or got the idea from my then drinking buddies I can’t say for sure but it was awesome, exactly the way I like it.  Since then I haven’t really had the chance to cook it that way.  The pig’s brain has been replaced by mayo or just plain and that’s fine with me.

Here in Auckland, to get pig’s head or ears I have to drive down east to an Asian meat shop far from where I live.  Not so keen so I plan on alternatives.  True enough as the Chinese ladies at my suking tindahan (nearest Asian meat shop) found it amusing when I asked for pig’s cheeks and ears.  Probably they seldom encounter non-Chinese customers asking for such, told me I should come back late afternoon the next day.  That’s not a good time for me so I grabbed a chunk of pork belly and 3 pieces of beef tendons instead.

The tendons may not have the crisp cartilage texture of the pig’s ears but its unique beef taste and gelatinous texture with crisp outer grilled parts adds a lot to the sisig flavor and consistency.   It complements the crispy pork belly that I cooked ala-lechong kawali.  This is actually my son’s first sisig and he loves it.  And, surprisingly, my stepson who wouldn’t want anything to do with fatty tissues, cartilage or gooey egg yolks ate a lot with moundfuls of rice.  My portion was creamier with mashed chicken liver and more mayo while the boys enjoy theirs with crunchy bacon bits.

1/2 kg pork belly
3 pcs beef tendons
2 pcs chicken liver (optional)
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground pepper
1 onion, minced
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2-3 tbsp fresh chili paste
Juice of 1 lime
1 egg
2 tbsp mayonnaise (optional)
Crunchy bacon bits (optional)
Ringlets of spring onion (optional)

Place pork and beef tendons in a pot of water.   Bring to boil then discard water.

Fill the pot with water until pork and tendons are submerged.  Add bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns.  Bring to boil then simmer for about 20 minutes with the lid on.  Season with salt and continue simmering for another 40 minutes.  Scoop out pork belly and set aside to dry.  Sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Sometime during the cooking time, place chicken livers in the pot, cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes. Scoop out and reserve.

Simmer the tendons for another 40 minutes or until fork tender.  Set aside to dry and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Set aside for atleast 2 hours or (in my case) refrigerate pork belly, beef tendons and chicken livers overnight.

When ready, preheat oven to 200 degrees C.  Arrange pork belly and tendons on a rack in a baking tray.  Fan-grill, turning over as needed, until all sides are nicely charred.  The tendons took 40 minutes while the pork belly took 50 minutes to get crisp and browned.

While pork and beef are under the grill, prepare the minced onions and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, mix soy sauce, chili and lime juice.  Season with pepper and salt.  Set aside.

Microwave cooked livers for about 20 seconds to heat up then mash with a fork.  Set aside.

When pork and tendons are ready, heat a grill pan over low to medium heat.  Brush the surface with a bit of vegetable or olive oil then add the onions.  Cook over low heat until it changes color but not soft or caramelized.  I like them a bit crunchy but not too raw for the kids.  While doing that, chop pork belly and tendons into small cubes.  Turn the heat to high then add chopped meat to the grill pan.  Toss until heated.

Add the soy sauce mixture to sizzle on the grill pan while tossing to coat the chopped ingredients evenly.  Crack an egg on top then turn off the heat.  Stir in mayonnaise and garnish with spring onion.  Serve straight away.  I mixed the mashed liver only on my portion.  Liver-free with bacon bits for the boys.

Best pulutan with my ice-cold beer.  Come howling!

“Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.

Kulinarya Cooking Club theme challenge for this month is Sisig, hosted by myself and Jenn of Storm in My Kitchen.  I will be posting a round-up below that I intend to update every day until the end of this month so please come back to read all the lovely posts about the versatile sisig.

Crispy Sisig Pork Belly and Beef Tendons as above
Roasted Turkey Drumsticks with Smoked Bacon & Pork: Sisig Style by Erwin of
Squid Sisig by Oggi of I Can Do That
Bangus Sisig by Chef D of Energetic Chef
Sisig Pampanga by Boyet of Reel and Grill
Pork Sisig by Tina of Pinay in Texas Cooking Corner
Pork Sisig, Spicy Filipino Pork Belly Appetizer by Elizabeth of Asian in America
Bangus Sisig by Abigail of My Nappy Tales
Sisig Pizza by Peachy of The Peach Kitchen
Tuna Sisig by Jenn of Storm in My Kitchen

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

14 thoughts on “Crispy Sisig Pork Belly and Beef Tendons

  1. love this Iska! my favorite forbidden guilty pleasure :) my Ma made some w/ brains, walang kapantay talaga. am so impressed by your boyz !

  2. Beef tendons! What a great idea for sisig; must try that soon. Beautiful photos too.

    I haven’t eaten brain of any kind, not even fish (do they have brain?). Somehow zombies come to mind when I think of eating brain. LOL. *Sorry for the lame joke*
    Oggi recently posted Squid Sisig

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