Friday, April 20, 2012

Crispy Pork Belly Soured in Tahitian Gooseberry

I love being with my Mama.

I remember putting my arms around her soft shoulder and tightly squeezing  as we weave our way around town. To wake up next to her in the morning was like a dream.  To get a glimpse of her daily routine... praying bead after bead of her rosary... to see her stay true to her promise to my Papa even beyond "through death do us part".  I'm glad that after living abroad for the past 13 years  I was lucky enough to stay with her for 3 weeks - which was oh so precious...and 'twas truly a gift.

 I am sure she loved those moments too.

The other day while I talked to her over the phone, she conveyed  to me how much she misses me especially my cooking.

"Martha (her cook) is back to cooking adobo again" she said in between giggles.

"What??? It's barely a week after I left and she's back to adobo?  I  purposely used local ingredients for her to easily re-create the dishes".  I said.

Oh she tried but her Crispy Sinigang sa Bangkiling (Crispy Pork Belly Soured in Tahitian Gooseberry) didn't turn out to be like yours.  

"Ok, let me post it so she'll recall my instructions". I told her

So for that purpose let me share with you one of my Mama's favorite dishes that I created for her while I was on vacation. But first let me discuss with you what gooseberry is all about.

So who's ready to pucker up? haha!

My mom was so excited to bring home Karamay for me from the market that day. Karamay is how we Ibanags call the little tiny yellow fruit almost the size of a blueberry. But don't let its size and radiant color fool you.  This fruit is really sour. Since I didn't know the English nor the Tagalog term for it, I posted it on my Facebook wall for my FB peeps to help me. Lo and behold I got so many reactions from my friends.  I found out that the tagalog term is Balingkikng; Tahitian Gooseberry in English.  

I brined it just the way I remember eating the fruit when I was younger.  I filled up a bottle with water, added some salt and poured the gooseberry in. After a day it was still very sour, so hmmm Why not use it as o souring agent for a soup base?  came an idea in my head...

And voila, that was how this dish called Crispy Sinigang sa Bangkiling (Crispy Pork Belly Soured in Tahitian Gooseberry) came about. The dish was sensational. I cooked it over and over for the time I was there.  My family couldn't resist the crunchy, crispy pork belly punctuated with a sour soup.  The vegetables also made this a one pot meal that delighted everyone.

Crispy Sinigang sa Bangkiling (Crispy Pork Belly Soured in Tahitian Gooseberry)
3 lbs. pork belly strips
2 pcs. radish (thinly sliced)
2 pcs. eggplant (thinly sliced)
1 pack okra
3 medium tomatoes
2 pcs. onions (quartered)

2 cups extracted tahitian gooseberry ( you could use other souring agents such as tamarind)
fish sauce (optional)

Other vegetables that you could add on include: taro, bokchoy and chili to give this dish a kick.

First let's extract the gooseberry juice.  In a stockpot, boil 2 cups of tahitian gooseberry submereged in water.  Cook until the meat falls off from the seed.  Now mash the gooseberry and extract as much juice from it.  Use a strainer.  Discard the seeds and pulp and set aside the juice.  

Now in a pot, boil rice water (water used for washing rice) onions and tomatoes.  Add the pork belly strips.  Cook until tender.  Add the vegetables and the extracted juice from the gooseberry.  You may want to add a small amount first then see from there.  Season with fish sauce or, if unavailable, with salt.

To make the pork belly crispy, you must set aside the pork belly, pat dry and deep fry the strips. For healthy options you could bake the pork (or use turbo broiler) until the pork becomes crunchy and crispy.  Slice the strips into serving cuts.  Serve the pork with vegies and soup on the side... 



  1. OH MY GOSH, Ading ko. If you were not so far, I would be knocking at your door right now!!! That looks absolutely DELICIOUS! And what a labor of love. WOW. WOW YET AGAIN. KUDOS, YOU KITCHEN MAVEN, YOU! So very, very impressed. Hugs.

  2. I will cook this over the weekend... Promise.
    Glad to see you back blogging(sharing stories) and sharing recipes of your spin.
    Love love love it!


  3. This looks amazing! I've never cooked with gooseberries but I would love to.

  4. LPM: You are hilarious but yeah we should have done a lot of those kitchen invasion when i lived there in sd... tsk tsk tsk. sayang!

    cecile: im glad to be back din and glad to see you back here too.

    maureen: love it that you dropped by too. ciao!

  5. my lips are puckered up with me reading your desription. but i may need to use tamararind instead because I don't think I could fin gooseberries here

    1. to tell you honestly when i was writing this post, i did too haha... tamarind is a good sour agent, so no worries. thanks don!

  6. I've never seen Tahitian Gooseberry, but will definitely keep an eye out. I could eat pork belly in any form though, so I'm sure this is perfect!!!

    1. As Kitchen Riffs mentioned below, gooseberries are available here in the US so I will hunt for some too. thanks Karen!

  7. Great recipe. I've cooked with regular gooseberries (by regular, the ones that grow here in Missouri where I live), but not Tahitian Gooseberries. I'll have to look them up to see what the difference is. Nice blog - glad I discovered you. I'll be back.

    1. hi there... im sending you a warm hello... hahah , im just excited to see a local food blogger. i hope we will meet one of these days. but for sure will see each other on the blogoshpere.
      great to meet you,

  8. What a great idea. I love pork belly and it must have been fantastic with that sour soup on the side. I've never actually used gooseberries, maybe I can track some down.

  9. Hi Malou!! Sorry for being MIA. How have you been? I love that Filipino cuisine use pork belly in many dishes! This looks so good. I've seen gooseberries from other blogs before. But I think they were used in baking. I'd love to eat it in savory dishes. Looks so good!!!


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