If you’re following me on IG, you would have seen that my IG stories are mostly food especially on weekends. I’m the designated cook whenever I’m home so you’d often find me in the kitchen if I am not playing with my daughter. Cooking wasn’t my strongest suit back in the day, I had a change of heart three years ago when I found myself living in my own apartment without someone to cook for me. I picked up recipes here and there, made trial and errors along the way and found my own way of cooking where I am most comfortable.
I don’t use MSG/Vetsin, Magic Sarap or Ginisa Mix. I also seldom use ready made sauces and powders. I like using spices, dried, fresh or powdered. I prefer those since I can control the portions I’ll put in my cooking and highlight whatever taste I want my dish to have. I can’t give all the exact measurements since I play it by taste.
Ang dami diba? My grandmother usually complains whenever she sees me cooking. I use so many things they don’t normally use. I have a 5-spice rule when cooking (not applicable to all dishes). I have complete seasonings and spices in my kitchen, from basil to laurel leaves, thyme, rosemary, to parsley. I also have several powders, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and others. I get the fresh ones from the supermarket if I need it, I haven’t grown my own stack yet since I don’t know if they’ll live in Pangasinan’s weather. The most common I use is pepper, salt, 1 dried spice, 1 or 2 powders, or flakes. Now that I already explained that, let’s get to cooking.
1. Boil the pork until tender. The spices I added were a pinch of pepper, chili flakes, salt, chili powder, Italian seasoning, onion and garlic powder. I added the cubes to bring out the nice porky taste of the meat. The reason I added 2 types of chilis is for it to stick to the meat and not the sauce. You may also use actual onion and garlic if you don’t have the powders. I actually prefer that but I don’t want to peel a lot of things. Once the pork is tender, drain it and set aside the broth.
*Napakamahal ng beef kaya minsan kung gusto ko ng beef kaldereta pero pork ang meat ko, beef cubes ginagamit ko. Hinahalo ko siya while cooking the meat para kumapit yung lasa.
2. Deep fry the carrots and potatoes. My siblings loved this. Nauuna siyang maubos kasi hindi ko pa lang nalalagay sa ulam, pinapapak na nila pagkatapos kong ifry. I used the same spices sans the cubes. I added cornstarch so when I fry and add it in the kaldereta later, it would stay crisp. Once cooked set it aside.
3. Sauté the onion, garlic and tomatoes in 1 tbsp dairy crème. Sauté the onion first before the garlic because the latter cooks easily. Add the tomatoes. Add 1 tbsp of tomato paste. This will add color and a stronger natural tomato taste.
4. Add the pork. Stir and cook for 3 minutes until the pork is a bit brown. You don’t have to cook this long since the pork is already tender. Add the broth, 1 tsp of oyster sauce, 3 tbsp of tomato sauce. Add the spices earlier minus the salt and chilis, this time less than a pinch. Don’t overdo the spices/herb, it doesn’t taste good if it’s too much. I also control the amount of sauce I put here since my Nanay doesn’t like it too saucy. Add the liver spread. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. To fix the color, I used the annatto seeds. I steeped it in a ¼ cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes until the desired color is obtained. Add the liquid, grated cheese, green chilis and pickle relish. Stir, let it simmer for 2 minutes. Then add the fried potatoes and carrots. Stir until all are coated with the sauce and then serve.
*You may also add green and red bell peppers and cooked green peas. Usually I add the green and red bell peppers last since I don’t want them overcooked.
The secret to a tasty kaldereta is for the meat flavor to stand out and have a spicy creamy after taste. I think I spent an hour cooking this. Next time I’ll add gata but remove the cheese for a kaldereta twist.
– wl, a.