Nic & Rei
By teaching, we learn. This Roman proverb from around 65 AD is proving to be relevant to YouTubers in the year 2020.
Nic and Rei started to learn how to cook Filipino food when they left home. “When we got married, we moved away from our moms who did a lot of the cooking,” Nic recalls. “We still wanted to eat Filipino food and cook homemade meals.” So they reached out to their parents to learn how to make the dishes they grew up with.
The couple began to film the recipes and post them on YouTube, teaching the process to their subscribers. Their eponymous channel, Nic & Rei, is full of video how-tos for the Filipino dishes and Kapampangan specialties passed on to them from their parents. “Ever since we started doing this, it’s fast tracked us as far as learning recipes,” Rei adds. “If we didn’t start this YouTube channel, we wouldn’t know as many recipes. So it’s kinda nice now – if we feel like eating pretty much any Filipino food we can just whip it up.”
One such recipe they can now whip up is Dinuguan, the video for which is featured on this page. “We just felt like eating dinuguan one day,” Nic says of the inspiration behind it. “And then we wanted to learn how to make it so we can eat it whenever. So we asked [my mom], ‘How do you make it?’”
Dinuguan is a pork stew of pig’s blood and vinegar. The cooked blood is what gives this dish its’ recognizable black sauce. This version also includes pig’s stomach, an ingredient that Nic and Rei were initially unfamiliar with handling. “It was new to us,” Nic says. “My mom taught us how to clean it with calamansi juice and salt and boiling it.” The cleaning process demands multiple rounds of vigorous scrubbing and squeezing and boiling. It may be the only Filipino recipe that calls for not just literal (pig’s) blood and also figurative sweat and tears – and it’s definitely one that’s worth every drop.
Nic & Rei’s Tip:
With this and any of these recipes, the first time is not always going to turn out the best. It’s a lot of trial and error so be nice to yourself and don’t give up!
- Pork Stomach (1.5lb)
- Salt (1/2-1 1/2 tbsp)
- Calamansi or Lemon Juice (2-6 tbsp)
- Oil (2-3 tbsp)
- Onion (1 medium diced)
- Garlic (4 cloves minced)
- Vinegar (1 1/2 cups)
- Soy Sauce (2 tbsp)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Oregano (1/2 tsp)
- Black Pepper (1 tsp)
- Pork Butt (2 lb)
- Pork Blood (10 oz)
- 2 Jalapeños
- Garlic Powder (1 tsp)
- Salt (1/2 tsp or to taste)
- First, boil water in a large pot (just enough to fully submerge your pork stomach in). Once the water is brought to a rolling boil, blanch 1 1/2 lbs of pork stomach for 2 minutes.
- Allow the pork stomach to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Once the pork stomach is cool, carefully trim the fat, and stringy fibers, and cut it up into 1 inch strips. Then cut each strip into bite sized diamonds.
- Afterwards, put your pork stomach into a strainer and rinse the stomach with water for 20-30 seconds.
- Then cleanse the stomach of any impurities by sprinkling 1/2 tbsp of salt and pouring in 2 tbsp of calamansi juice. Then squish the pork stomach with your hands for about a minute or so, before rinsing again with water. Repeat this step another 1-2 times until the stomach loses its funky smell and no longer feels slimy. Afterwards set the stomach aside.
- Next, in a stainless steel pot, sauté 1 medium diced onion in 2-3 tbsp of oil until translucent.
- Then add 4 minced cloves of garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- At this point, add the stomach, 1 1/2 cups of vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp oregano, and 1 tsp of black pepper, and just enough water to cover your ingredients (we used about 3 cups). (IMPORTANT: Do not mix the ingredients, until the pork blood has been added later; mixing it may cause the dish to become extra sour from the vinegar)
- Bring everything to a boil before dropping the temperature to medium low and simmer for about 45 minutes.
- When the pork stomach is tender, drop in 2 lbs of pork butt, cut into cubes, and pour in about 2 cups of water or just enough to cover your ingredients.
- Cover and simmer the stew for another 30 minutes.
- Once the pork butt is tender, add 10 oz of pork blood and continue to simmer, uncovered, for another 1 hour. During this time, you can occasionally stir the ingredients.
- Next add 2 jalapeños and mix in 1 tsp of garlic powder.
- Taste the sauce and add salt to taste. In our case, we ended up adding a 1/2 tsp of salt.
- Simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the peppers are soft. And you’re done!