Pinapaitan is a very popular dish in the Northern Part of the Philippines more specifically in Ilocos Region, the original dish consists of goat and ox innards and its meat flavoured with bile, tamarind and chillies. This is not for the faint hearted as this will be up in the ranks of the strangest dishes together with Haggis, Eskimo Ice Cream, Blood Pudding, Frog Sashimi and Maggot Cheese.
Pinapitan came from the word “pait” which means bitter which in turn uses the animal bile liquid as the flavouring agent. I remember I spent my college days in Baguio (The Summer capital of the Philippines) which is in the northern region and one of my friends Uncle always cook this dish and I really love it, it’s good for cold season specially in Baguio which is relatively cold compared to other parts of the Philippines.
Today in where I live it is hard to get the ingredients specially the bile that’s why we need to improvise some ingredients and in this case we will be using bitter gourds as the bittering agent. By using the improvised ingredients it’s easy to serve it to non-Filipino guests as it would look less like an episode of Fear Factor for them.
600g ox tripe, cleaned, cooked and sliced into small pieces
250g beef heart, sliced into small pieces
250g beef liver, sliced into small pieces
250g beef brisket, sliced into small pieces
3 pcs medium sized bitter gourd, seeded and sliced into large chunks
1 big packet sinigang mix (tamarind mix)
1 to 1.5 liters beef stock
1/2 cup vinegar
1 whole garlic, minced
1 thumb size ginger, crushed and sliced finely
2 medium size red onion, chopped
6 green finger chillies (siling haba)
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
- Marinate liver for 30 minutes in vinegar then set aside.
- In a pot sauté garlic, ginger and onion in oil.
- Add all meat ingredients except for the liver, stir fry for 1 minute until some brown colour appear on the meat.
- Add beef stock, bitter gourd and chillies (do not slice). Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Drain the vinegar out of the liver.
- Remove the chunks of bitter gourd and place them on a blender, blend well.
- Place blended bitter gourd into a fine sieve or a muslin cloth, run some hot stock on top while draining directly on the pot, this will get the maximum bitterness of the bitter gourd while making the soup clear.
- Add sinigang mix and liver simmer for additional 10 minutes
- Flavour with fish sauce (according to your taste) and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Note: Some bittering agent used apart from beef bile that I heard of but not yet tried are fish bile and coffee.