Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pork Tabungao (Pork with Chinese Long Squash Soup)

Here is a dish my grandfather would cook for us when we were little. It brings back so much memories. The pork is soft and tender with the sweet taste of the squash. The broth is rich and delightful on a cold night. Heat the soup and add cold rice and you got a typical Ilocano dish easy to cook and prepare.
This dish is locally also known as "Pork Sari-Sari" as in a mix of vegetables.  The local Ilocano restaurants make a shrimp version also.


2-3 lbs fresh pork chops, sliced thin (pork ribs is also good)
1 2 lb small Chinese long squash, peeled, cut lengthwise, then cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 round yellow union, sliced thin
1 whole red ripe tomato, halved and sliced thin
2 fresh cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled, and minced fine
1 whole bay leaf, ripped in half
2-4 Tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam or patis)
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
dash MSG to taste (optional)
1 Tbsp white vinegar
fresh cold water
vegetable oil for frying
Optional vegetables :
2 long eggplants, diagonal slant slices
1-2 lb. Chinese long beans or sitaw, cut in 2 inch length pieces.


Heat a 6 qt pot with cover. Add 2 Tbsp oil and heat til smoking. Add pork and stir fry. Brown and cook pork well done about 10-15 mins on high heat. Season with pepper and bay leaf while frying. Add onions, tomato, and garlic. Continue to stir fry until vegetables are translucent and wilted. Add additional oil if needed. Add 4-6 cups of fresh water to pot, cover and bring meat to a nice boil then lower heat to simmer. Simmer til meat is tender. Add fish sauce, MSG, and white vinegar to soup. Add squash to pot and cover. Cook til squash is soft. Add more pepper and patis to adjust to your taste. Serve with white rice.

This dish is closely similar to Pork Sinigang but without the tamarind powder mix.  The broth or sabaw is not tangy.  Also I add a Tbsp of vinegar to the broth so the dish keeps and doesn't "turn" or spoil quickly on account of the tomatoes.  It makes the sabaw acidic like how adobo doesn't spoil without refrigeration.

Serves 3-4

Chinese long squash or tabungao in Ilocano and Upo in Tagalog.

Let's kaukau!! Enjoy! :O)


lance-s said...


Your soup looks so good!!! Glad to hear you're carrying on your grandfather's cooking legacy. Thanks for sharing.

Pomai said...

Howzit Reggie,

Just dropping by and checking out your ono recipies. Mahalo for stopping by my new blog and leaving all da' cool comments.

Your Kaukautime! site is listed on my links page.

Whoah, now I gotta' carry one camera wit' me everytime I go out fo' eat!


Reggie said...

yups pomai!! gotta join da foodie phenomena and carry da digicam whea eva u go lidat!! u neva kno wat ono kine tasty grinds fo capture on film to post on ur blog!! :D

stef said...

Reggie, that looks good.... just yesterday I was thinking how we haven't had upo in a while... gotta run to the only market in town that carries these...

Anonymous said...

Howzit Reggie,
Made this recipe last night and it was delicious! Mahalo!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe. We relocated away from family and friends...and miss our tabungao! Fortunately, my Doddy gave me some of his tabungao seeds. They are now growing in Medford Oregon!!! Thanks again for the recipe! I will add you to my Favorites! Jeanne

Dazy said...

It is looking fab! I like pork - we have it almost as much as we have chicken, which is a lot. It should keep me busy in the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

A family friend just gave us a tabungao - I searched the web and settled on your recipe for dinner tonight. Broke da mouth!