Last Saturday, I thought of preparing one of my mom’s recipes. It’s a personal favorite which reminds me so much of home. Very simple and easy to prepare although it’s time consuming to get all the ingredients ready.
I’m using salted pork here but I guess you can try using fried chicken pieces instead if you don’t eat pork.
Salted pork or Gordura Salao as we call it in vernacular Chavacano, is pork fat preserved in salt. The method is so ancient it is used by many cultures around the world to preserve meat back in the days when refrigeration was not yet available.
The back fat and sometimes belly, is used for this purpose wherein the slab of meat is sliced into half inch thick strips and rubbed with a generous amount of rock salt. The method may vary from place to place but the idea remains the same. My mom would add crushed garlic and bay leaves for added flavor and aroma.
The meat will be stored in a large container or earthen jar and left covered for at least overnight. The following day the meat will be hanged outside to be sun and air dried for a day. A day of curing is usually enough but my mom would sometimes keep the meat out for another 24 hours allowing it to age some more, turning darker in color, with drier and firmer texture and of course deeper flavor.
Gordura Salao is a poor man’s way of infusing meat flavor and aroma into dishes using a very small amount of meat. A meager slice goes a long way, even the rendered fat/lard is so flavorful, you can readily tell it is used in a dish.
150 grams salted pork, wash and pat dry
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp whole pepper corns
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 large eggplants
1 large green chili pepper, julliened (optional)
2 tbsp vinegar ( I use coconut vinegar because that’s what I have but you can use any kind you prefer)
fish sauce and sugar to taste
3 tbsp water
- Bake or broil eggplant either on open flame or stove top. Remove charred skin and stems. Slice into short strands & set aside.
- Wash pork and cut into cubes.
- On a thick bottomed pan, boil meat with a cup of water, bay leaf and peppercorns for 5 minutes. Discard water and continue roasting dry until fat is rendered and meat is fried golden.
- Add the garlic and fry until slightly brown then add onions. Continue sauteing until wilted.
- Add the eggplant and season with vinegar and fish sauce.
- Adjust seasoning to your taste. I usually add a teaspoon of sugar because it helps balance the flavor.
- Serve alongside boiled rice and broiled or fried fish.