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 Sarisari" as in a mix of vegetables. The local Ilocano restaurants make a shrimp version also. Also a word of note. This dish is only indigenous to Hawaii from the local Ilocanos which migrated to Hawaiian Islands during the plantation era of the 1900's. Try go Philippines and ask them you want to order this dish or go to Max's Restaurant and they'll look at you funny. :)
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
1 bunch of ong choy or water spinach, cut in 2 inch length pieces. Separate leafy part from stems.
Add stems first to simmering broth then add leafy part last. Try not to overcook it.
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.