Peach Marmalade and Tomato Braised Pork Steaks

Weekends are golden days for me. As soon as Friday creeps in, that feeling of having a few uninterrupted hours to catch up on all things mundane excites me. I think you might know by now that I’m a geek who loves children’s fiction, and I’m currently halfway done with The Mark of Athena. Usually I can devour a book in a day, but I choose to savor the third installment since the next one will be out in the fall of 2013.

This weekend was a good one for me. After a long while, this blog’s pulse has been racing again, with a few updates on my life as a would-be glorified cook, the new header image and I think I boldly declared that I’d be posting a recipe soon. I couldn’t post a recipe without actually cooking something, and cook I did.
My routine doesn’t involve a lot of cooking at home. The horror, I know. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to cook something for my survival – and because the place where I live doesn’t run out of places to eat (thank you, my friendly neighborhood ihawan/barbecue place), I find it pretty convenient that my needs are satisfied.

It’s funny that it took making a proper home-cooked meal to realize just how I missed myself. By “myself”, I mean the food blogger. And not just the blogger who writes about what he ate, but the blogger who writes about and shares what he cooked. The latter has always been who The Hungry Giant is.
This is a simple recipe that involves only a few ingredients. I needed to practice my tourne abilities, hence the shaped carrots and chayote. They were simply steamed while the rice was cooking, using the steaming basket that comes with almost every rice cooker.

I wanted something other than the usual adobo (not that there’s anything to hate about adobo), and the idea of braising something in a thick tangy tomato sauce made me not miss adobo that much. And thanks to that trip to the Pancake House, where I had peach waffles, I asked myself why it took me this long to appreciate the sweetening power of anything made with peaches. A few heaping tablespoons made all the difference.

Not all weekends are like the one I had recently, but at least I milked it for what it’s worth.
Tomato and Peach Braised Pork Steaks with Steamed Vegetables (serves 3 – 4)

  • 1 carrot, tourneed (or just slice it like you would thick fries)
  • 1 small chayote, tourneed (or just slice it like you would thick fries)
  • 1 -2 tablespoons butter
  • half a bulb of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 6 pieces pork steaks (choose a cut with good marbling; this is roughly a kilo)
  • one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water/stock
  • 5 – 6 heaping tablespoons peach marmalade
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  1. As you cook the rice in the rice cooker, place the vegetables in foil or in a bowl with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Place it in the steaming basket and place it over the rice to steam. Once the vegetables are cooked (not too soft that it becomes mushy), remove.
  2. Pat-dry the pork and season it pork with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. In a pan, heat a little bit of oil over medium heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until aromatic. Remove from pan. Turn up the heat to high. Add around a tablespoon of oil.
  4. Sear the pork steaks on both sides, until they start to brown. Remove from pan.
  5. Add the tomatoes (together with the liquid in the can), marmalade, garlic, onions and water.
  6. Place pork back into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the pork is tender and the sauce has reduced. If the pork is still not cooked through and the sauce dries up, add more water. Season to taste with salt, pepper and the cayenne.
  7. Serve with rice. Enjoy!

Steamed Pork with Black Beans

Let me just clear the air right now: I know how to ride a bike. I do.

Two days ago I went on my first “out of the subdivision” biking trip. That means I braved the madness of cars during rush hour so I could go and bike/jog inside the airbase, where my mom’s office is. We don’t live far from the airbase but it was still a stretch to get there by walking. No, I do not live a sheltered life. It’s just that I haven’t really taken to driving myself wherever I want to go, just yet. So anyway getting there was easy enough. I managed to jog one round of the expanse, bike for another and afterwards I felt really happy (endorphins probably) that I managed to work up a sweat.

Now I was happy that I didn’t die or wasn’t run over by a truck. I biked all the way home and before I could go into our drive, a car was getting out. I obviously stopped and tried to wait for it to go. But I decided to just cut through the sidewalk to get in. Then the next thing I knew my bike and I were lying flat on the concrete. My big mistake was crossing over a wet sidewalk, because it was raining a bit. I could feel the stab of pain on my right knee and shoulder which hit the pavement first. And seriously, I heard the “awww” coming from the people who witnessed my sorry excuse for a fall. But I was laughing the whole time! And by that I meant I used humor to hide the humiliation. Which works by the way.

Now here I am still nursing a minor scrape on my knee. Good thing the shoulder wasn’t hurt badly, just a scrape here and there.

Looking back I think I rationalized the whole situation by saying it was meant to happen as my “rite of passage”. It was my first real injury from biking, and I’m ok with that. I got up, I laughed, and maybe I could use a day (or five) of not showing my face in public but it’s best to just shake it off and bike another day.

Miserably falling down your bicycle for people to watch and ogle at you is character formation at its finest. OK, maybe not. But you get the idea.


Today I think I stumbed (pun intended) on another gold mine: steamed pork with black beans. I vaguely remember enjoying a dish quite similar in a Chinese resto along Nunez extension. The resto is long gone but if it had something remarkable, it was their steamed spareribs. So I perused and consolidated a few recipes online and managed to come up with something that I was pleased with.

Even if black beans are innately salty, the end product was really just subtle in its saltiness. At first I restrained myself from adding salt/soy sauce to the marinade. But I gave in to the need to make the taste pop even more. If it’s a battle between Maggi Savor Garlic flavor and Knorr liquid seasoning, I would prefer Knorr for the intensity, but for this recipe that calls for 3 teaspoons of liquid seasoning, I added 2 tsp of Maggi Savor and 1 tsp of Knorr.


I was lucky enough to have large ramekins that are of the same height as the steaming attachment most rice cookers have. I like to steam food inside a solid heatproof container and not just with aluminium foil because of the tendency for water to pool. This is a really easy dish: chop the meat, make the marinade, mix, steam and that’s basically it. This is a winner. And maybe something that can help nurse your spirits after a miserable fall.


Steamed Pork with Black Beans (serves 6)

  • 1 kg pork paikut/liempo/belly, sliced into bite sized cubes (paikut is different from belly/liempo. Help me translate paikut into its English name by clicking here or here)
  • 100 gram pack fermented black beans
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • two dashes of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tbsp water
  • Optional: 3 tsp liquid seasoning/light soy sauce
  • Optional: 1 long chorizo bilbao, sliced
  1. In a bowl, mash the black beans with the back of spoon. It does not have to be a smooth mash.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the pork and continue mixing, mashing until most of the the beans have roughly broken down.
  3. In a separate large bowl/container, combine the pork and the mashed bean paste. Allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  4. When ready to cook, arrange the meat on a heatproof bowl/plate/container and put it in the steamer.
  5. Cover with aluminium foil and using a fork, prick the top to make small holes. Steam for 15 – 20 minutes covered. Then remove the foil and steam for another 15 – 20 minutes or until pork is no longer pink and is tender. Garnish with chopped chives, serve with a steaming bowl of rice and enjoy!