Igado (Filipino Pork Meat and Liver Stew)


Is it really February? Last Monday I thought it was Friday. Time is warped; I could be talking to you from 2010 [insert Twilight Zone or X-Files theme] and I’ll be conscious of the correct year in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… But you do understand what I mean, right? Time zoomed forward.

A couple of weeks ago my ol’ friend visited Vancouver. We go back as far as our Geology freshmen days in 1995. It’s been a good 8 or 9 years since we last saw each other when we were fresh graduates and newly-licensed professionals. Now, we are old(er), relocated in North America, and cook and share recipes. I gave him the recipe for Food For The Gods, and he taught me how to make this Filipino dish called “Igado” (pronounced as ee-ga-DOH, as if you’re saying fa-la-LAH).

Igado is a regional Filipino delicacy with fatty pork loin meat and pork liver cooked with red bell pepper and peas, in a salty-sour sauce. I love this dish but never had the gumption to make it until my friend indulged me with their family’s Ilocano recipe. The Ilocanos are people from the northern part of the Philippines. In my home country, different regions have different traditional dishes with distinct tastes, but there’s one common characteristic about Filipino dishes — they try to make as much use of what’s available from the ingredients. Call it the Third-World Factor, not Fodder For Fear Factor. Take igado, for example, instead of throwing out the skin with fat, it is cubed and fried until crispy; and except for the excess oil, the whole pork loin is used.

Check out the crispy browned fat with skin:

I know it sounds absolutely horrible and will send nutritionists and dietitians screaming out the door, but these are SO good to eat even on their own [disclaimer: Enjoy at your own risk. Don’t even think about eating the fried fat if you have heart, high blood, cholesterol or other health-related problems]. It’s used to flavor a lot of dishes, including boiled green mung beans. Eat in moderation, I always say.

Igado is an excellent make-head viand, just like Adobo. It tastes even better the day after, just make sure to keep it cold in the fridge and re-heat before serving. If you’re not into offal, you can skip the liver, but it wouldn’t taste the same. Perhaps you’ve been on the fence about finally trying liver and you’re just waiting for the recipe, consider making this.

The following recipe is not according to my friend’s specifications because he just estimated the amounts in his head when he made it. I took it upon myself, in the spirit of accuracy (whatever excuse I can make to cook this!), to re-create the dish while measuring everything for you and for our future reference. Enjoy!

Igado (Filipino Pork Meat and Liver Stew)
Recipe type: stew, main course
Cuisine: Filipino
Igado is a regional Filipino delicacy with fatty pork loin meat and pork liver cooked with red bell pepper and peas, in a salty-sour sauce. My friend taught me how his Ilocos family make it and I'm sharing it with you.
  • • 1¾ lb pork loin with fat and skin (remove fat with the and cut into 1-cm dices; cut remaining pork meat into fries-like strips)
  • • ¾ lb pork liver (cut into fries-like strips)
  • • 1 cup frozen peas
  • • 1 red bell pepper cut in thin strips similar in width to the meat and liver
  • • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • • ⅓ + ⅙ cup white vinegar (the best kind to use is sugar cane vinegar)
  • • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • • a pinch of salt + 1 tsp.
  • • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • • 2 whole bay leaves
  1. ) In medium heat, cook diced pork skin with fat. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt until crunchy bits are left. Transfer them into a small container. Throw away the oil but leave about 1 tablespoon in the pan.
  2. ) Sauté onions in the fat oil until translucent. Add minced garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. ) Add liver strips and pork meat. Sauté with the onion for a minute, then pour ⅓ cup of vinegar into the mixture. Cover and cook in med-high heat for 5 minutes.
  4. ) Stir in soy sauce, cover for another 2 minutes.
  5. ) Add in the crunchy pork fat with skin from #1, 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and ⅙ cup vinegar. Stir. Cover and leave to cook for 7 minutes.
  6. ) Lower heat to medium. Add frozen peas and red bell pepper strips. Wait for it to boil then cover for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  7. ) Drop 2 bay leaves into the stew and mix it in. Don't crush. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
  8. ) Serve with rice.
This is an excellent make-ahead viand that tastes even better the next day or two. Just put in the fridge and leave the bay leaves until after you re-heat it before eating.

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  1. says

    Who could possibly be on the fence about liver?! Hee hee. Looks great– I don’t think I’ve tried that before, it’s kind of hard to spot at the carinderia!

    Manggys last blog post..Akronicity

    • joy says

      Haha, not everyone will touch anything that is offal. Thanks. I can’t remember if I’ve seen this in a carinderia, possibly in UP Dil if I did.

  2. laizah says

    hey thanks fr posting this. i cooked it today for our lunch.my sister and her hubby(british) said, ” laiza u r perfect!”..lol
    thanks to you!

  3. marlon L. says

    monday night i was hungry and bored.my hungry stomach was telling my brain to think of the name of the pork dish that i like but never took time to know what it was called.so i went online and google the pork dishes for pinoys. no luck. log on to yahoo to see who among my old classmates are avaible to be disturb just to ask what dish it was. describing it as i remember the taste as if i just ate one earlier.
    my uncle’s used to cook this for us since he was always the designated cook when ever there’s a gathering. anyhows. im glad that one knows what was i talkin about and when i google it and saw the picture of it
    i was so happy that finally i can again taste the food that i like eating back when the price of jeepney fare was i think 65centavos and pop cola was 50centavos and coke i think was 75centavos. hahaha. goes to show im too old. since i live alone here in california being 34 and grumpy i will try to cook this IGADO. hope it will taste the same as i remember it. but then again who will say it doesnt taste like igado for this will only be for my self. and haba ano??? anyways thank you sa site. u r making a hungry old man happy.

  4. Tani says

    Hi, I can’t find sugar cane vinegar here in California, I saw the regular datu puti vinegar in one of the stores I go to. What’s the next best type of vinegar I can use to cook Igado? (Balsamic, apple cider, etc).

    Thank you.

  5. mylene/ san mateo rizal says

    i tried this recipe before and it tasted good.but i dont know how to cook as good as before.now at last i know and thanks to your help.

  6. Genevieve says

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have been procrastinating on looking for the recipe for this meal because I couldn’t easily remember the name of it. I just know whenever I see it in a carenderia, I always get it. I love this! And I will try making it this weekend, even probably serve it during the holidays:). Thanks again!

  7. an an says

    the most important ingredient is the pork, but i did not see the pork in your preparation????????????????

      • Joyce says

        My boyfriend is Ilokano and he loves Igado, unfortunately he doesn’t know how to cook it so I’m eager to know the recipe, thank you for posting this.. Anyway, Is beef okay instead of pork? I just want to be the best cook for him.. lol ^^

  8. ashley says

    yummy,it’s been a long time since the last time I ate Igado. My brothers used to cooked this for me everytime I go home to the Philippines. So today, I will cook it for my husbands birthday.I will let his family try it… Thanks for the recipy….


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