It’s been over two months and we’re still locked down in our homes, modified the quarantine may be. Even if we go out to buy necessities such as food and medicine, it’s not that easy.
For one thing, only one person per household, bearing the quarantine pass given by the barangay, is allowed to go out. That could be a problem for those who may have cars but don’t drive (who’ll drive them to the public market?).
Compounding that problem is the lack of public transportation. Inexplicably, authorities have not allowed buses and jeepneys to ply their routes. For those who don’t have cars, how are they expected to reach the market or grocery with no public transportation? Walking is an alternative, but not if you’re several kilometers away from the nearest market or drugstore.
In addition, because of social distancing, there are long waits under the sun before one is allowed inside the grocery. Though social distancing is necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the long wait standing outside in the merciless heat can increase the risk of getting sick, if not with the virus, but with other ailments such as heat stroke, cough, cold, fever, etc. That is why, in these difficult times, cooking has to be reduced to the barest minimum. No-fuss, no-mess recipes—that’s what we should aim for.
One such recipe is inihaw na baboy. You can cook this dish with just the basic ingredients in your cupboard—plus a half kilo of pork liempo which, hopefully, you can buy in one of the mobile meat stores in your neighborhood.
½ kg pork liempo, cut into two to three slabs
1 head garlic, crushed
1¼ c vinegar
1 Tbsp cracked black peppercorns
¼ c sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
To serve: A dip of vinegar and crushed garlic (optional)
Marinate the pork liempo in garlic, vinegar and peppercorns for four hours, or overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, remove the pork from the marinade and reserve the marinade. If desired, pick out the peppercorns from the pork.
Add the sugar and soy sauce to the reserved marinade, stir well and bring the liquid to a boil. Let boil for one to two minutes and until the sugar dissolves completely. Set aside.
Brush a grill with cooking oil and heat the grill to medium. Brush some oil on the pork slabs to prevent it from sticking to the grill. Season the pork lightly with salt.
Put the pork slabs on the heated grill and grill for four minutes. Brush with the boiled marinade, then turn the pork over and grill for another three to four minutes. When the pork is almost cooked, brush it again with the boiled marinade. Continue grilling until the pork is completely cooked.
Remove the pork from the grill and slice the slabs into bite-size pieces. If desired, serve with a dip of garlic and vinegar. This also goes well with achara. Makes three to four servings.
• When marinating the pork overnight in the refrigerator, be sure to keep the container well covered.
• Instead of using the boiled marinade to brush the pork, you can use sweet soy sauce. This is available in the condiments section of large supermarkets.
• To prevent contamination with raw food, make sure you boil the reserved marinade well before you use it to brush the pork.