Grilled pork with tuna ceviche, grilled corn, sweet potato and cucumber salsa | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

EASY-TO-DO, big crowd-pleaser: grilled pork
EASY-TO-DO, big crowd-pleaser: grilled pork

They practiced for months, under the watchful eye of their mentors and coaches, trying to perfect the Filipino recipes they hoped would be deemed winners by the judges.


Finally, on May 1, the 30 elementary and high school students gathered at Enderun Colleges in McKinley Hill, Taguig, for the first Philippine Schools Overseas (PSO) Culinary Competition.


Conceptualized by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), and with the major sponsorship of Mama Sita Foundation as well as the support of Banco de Oro, Land Bank of the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture and media partner GMA 7 International, the competition aimed to strengthen the cultural ties of children of overseas Filipinos with their home country.


And what better way to cultivate these ties than with the flavors and tastes of their native cuisine?


The 30 contestants formed the teams that have hurdled elimination rounds conducted in Filipino schools overseas.  They represented schools in Dubai, Bahrain, Oman, Doha and Shanghai. Young as they were, they showed know-how in the kitchen, peeling the vegetables with skill (despite knives that lacked sharpness), deftly handling the pots and pans, and when all was done, plating the dishes with flair.


The dishes were prepared both the traditional way (from scratch) and by using Mama Sita products. Although the Mama Sita versions could be deemed shortcuts, they exuded the exquisite flavors of Filipino cuisine just the same.


Cash and other prizes were given to the winning teams. First prize went to the Dubai team, with the high school group’s recipe for grilled pork with tuna ceviche and grilled corn, sweet potato and cucumber salsa; and the elementary group’s entry of chicken adobong lumpia with spicy vinegar rice.


Second place went to the Philippine school in Bahrain; third place to Doha, fourth place to Oman, and fifth place to Shanghai.


Below is the Dubai high school group’s first prize recipe. Although I tasted the dish and its accompanying sidings as one of the judges during the competition, I still tested the recipe at home just for this column, to make sure it can be replicated by the home cook (adjusting the proportions accordingly).


What a pleasant surprise this home version turned out to be—complex, with nuances in flavor, and not really that difficult to do.


Grilled Pork with Tuna Ceviche, Grilled Corn, Sweet Potato and Cucumber Salsa


For the pork:

300-400 g pork belly

1 ½ inches ginger root, sliced

1 ½ heads garlic, chopped

4 small red onions (shallots), chopped

½ c fresh parsley leaves, snipped into small pieces

1/3 c + 1 tbsp soy sauce

¼ c cooking oil

3 tbsp calamansi juice


For the tuna:

300-400 g sashimi-grade tuna

1 head garlic, finely chopped

½ medium red bell pepper, finely chopped

½ medium green bell pepper, finely chopped

½ c finely chopped wansoy (cilantro) leaves

½ c + 2 tbsp lime juice

Salt and pepper


For the corn salsa:

½ medium sweet potato

2 cobs sweet corn

½ cucumber, cut into small cubes

3 small red onions, finely chopped

Salt and pepper


Cook the pork:


If the pork belly has skin, remove the skin. Combine remaining ingredients and marinate pork in the mixture for at least 10 minutes (keep in the refrigerator if marinating longer).


Pan-grill pork on medium heat until cooked on both sides. Remove from heat and let rest for five minutes. Chop into large chunks. Set aside.


Make the tuna ceviche:


Cut the tuna into large chunks. Combine the garlic, red and green bell peppers, wansoy leaves and lime juice.


Season with salt and pepper. Pour over tuna chunks and let marinate in refrigerator for 10 minutes.


Remove tuna from the mixture and set aside.


Prepare the salsa:


Boil the sweet potato in salted water until tender but still slightly firm. Peel and cut into small cubes.


Grill the corn until tender and slightly charred (see tips). With a knife, remove the corn kernels from the cobs.


Combine the potato, corn, cucumber and onions in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.


To assemble:


Arrange the slices of pork on one side of a large serving platter. Scoop the tuna ceviche and corn salsa on the side. Makes two to three servings.


For more tips, recipes and stories, visit author’s blog and Facebook fan page Follow on Twitter @NormaChikiamco.


Cook’s tips:


To shorten the time for grilling the corn: Remove the cobs from the husks and boil the corn in a pot of water until tender. Heat a grilling pan to medium and grill the corn until slightly charred.


Before grilling the pork, brush the grilling pan with cooking oil or spray it with nonstick cooking spray to keep the pork from sticking to the pan.


This recipe is enough for two to three persons. You can double it if serving a larger group.


You can substitute Mama Sita’s Inihaw Mix for the mixture used to marinate the pork.


If you cannot find lime juice, substitute with lemon juice or calamansi.

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