I had this dish for the first time under the shade of an Indian Mango Tree. My family and I went for a visit on my grandma’s house on the farm, and my aunt prepared a simple lunch of fried fish, green mangoes with bagoong and this cabbage and potato stew. It was a hot and humid day and some of us decided to eat al fresco.
We carried our food and sat on the old cart/ wagon ( it was once used pulled by a carabao or a bull for transporting harvested rice from the fields and for a fun ride too when we were much younger ). It was a happy day and I ate a lot, and even took a nap under the same tree. That was almost 20 years ago …
I really liked the potato and cabbage (as my daughter calls it) and I had asked my aunt what’s it called and how it’s made as I have never had it before, not that I want to cook it myself, my family knows I can’t and don’t cook (I was on my early teens), I was just being curious.. but I’m glad I asked because when I got married, I only knew how to cook a handful of dishes and after cooking a few ones in rotation and opening canned goods, I was looking for something new to cook and I remembered this dish.
saute garlic,onion, pork and tomatoes
add water, chillies and season with salt and pepper and fish sauce
add potatoes; then the cabbage
It’s basic guisa (sauté) and simmer. It’s hard to ruin it since it is a stew. You just need to be careful in adding water and seasoning. The water should be just right, too much will make it a soup which is thinner in consistency but also good and always, always taste first before you finish cooking.
My version has more tomatoes than what my aunt used to make ’cause I love tomatoes and I also added green chillies for a hint of spice and heat :)
PORK CABBAGE AND POTATO STEW
500 g / 1 lb pork, diced
1 medium red onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz red ripe tomatoes, diced
8 oz potatoes, diced ( it’s easier to use baby potatoes, you don’t have to peel them, just cut them into half or quarters)
8 oz cabbage, sliced thinly ( anyway you like, strips or squares or shredded will work fine too)
2 green chillies whole with tips cut-off (for mild heat and aroma)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon fish sauce (optional, but it’s more tasty with it than just salt alone)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat; sauté garlic, onions. When onions are transparent, add the pork, cook until browned, add in the diced tomatoes. Increase heat to high; cook tomatoes whilestirring until they get mushy.
Add in the tomato paste and 2 cups water. Season with fish sauce, salt and pepper. Throw in the chillies. Bring to a boil; lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until pork is really tender.
Taste and adjust seasoning; add in the potatoes, bring to a boil and simmer some more until the potatoes are cooked. Add the sliced cabbage and cook until they are just wilted, if you want some crunch or really cook it through either way is just fine, I’ve tried both and they tasted great, it’s just a matter of preference in texture here.
Have a taste once more, adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and let cool a little before serving. Serve with steamed rice and crispy fried galunggong (mackerel scad) fish, the saltiness and crunch of the galunggong goes well with this dish but that’s just me, we almost always have fried fish to go with a vegetable dish before; it’s not necessary of course as it already has meat in it.