How to cook Pulpog or Filipino Pork Kilawin

How to cook Pulpog or Filipino Pork Kilawin
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Try this Pulpog recipe, an Ilocano dish shared by Come Forth Kitchen at the Maya Kitchen cooking class for its Filipino Top Eats edition. This Filipino grilled pork dish is perfect for a Saturday night with friends coming over for a couple of bottles of beer. 

There’s a chef I know who literally gets crazy whenever someone refers to our Kinilaw as the Philippine’s Version of Ceviche. She’d be foaming in the mouth (kidding, just something akin to that I guess, lol) whenever a recipe is titled “The Philippine Version” of something. She’d like to believe, and I fully agree with her that our cuisine suffers a lot because it is always being compared to some other foreign dish. And the sad thing is, mostly, it is us who who makes these comparisons.

I’m sure she’s going to find fault with this article if she reads it too. Because Pulpog is definitely not Kilawin nor is this a Kilawin Recipe.

What is Pulpog?

Pulpog is a traditional Ilocano dish made with grilled pork and vinegar, popular in the Ilocos region of the Philippines. This dish is perfect for those who love tangy, savory flavors and are looking for a delicious way to enjoy their grilled pork. The dish is simple to make and uses few ingredients, but the flavors are bold and unforgettable.

Difference between Pulpog, Dinakdakan, and Insarabasab

Pulpog (not to be confused with Insarabasab or Dinakdakan) is an Ilocano delicacy that has grilled pork liempo and pork blood (like Betamax Isaw)– which is the main difference with Pork Kilawin (I think). Insarabasab is also Kilawin but uses mostly the pigs face (like sisig) while Dinakdakan also has vinegar but it is boiled and not grilled. Whew. If you’re looking for a recipe, here is a quick Dinakdakan Recipe.

The difference of Kinilaw and Kilawin

Come to think of it, I think she (the chef) also went into great detail explaining the difference of Kinilaw and Kilawin, which should never be interchanged. She emphasized that Kilawin is cooked over fire, meaning the raw fish or meat is cooked or grilled before marinating it in the spiced vinegar or citrus mixture. This leads to a more mild and mellow flavor.

Kinilaw, on the other hand, involves marinating the raw meat or seafood directly in the acidic liquid without any pre-cooking. The citrus juice or vinegar acts as the “liquid fire” that “cooks” the raw ingredients, breaking down the proteins and softening the texture. This immediate contact with the acids results in a more robust, tart and tangy flavor profile compared to Kilawin. Here’s a Kinilaw na Tuna recipe if you wanna check it out!

As the chef described it, Kilawin is like a grilled dish that is then dressed in a tangy sauce. While Kinilaw takes the sauce-first approach, submerging the raw proteins directly in the highly acidic and spiced vinegar mixture. The texture of Kinilaw also tends to remain firmer and chunkier due to the absence of pre-cooking, while Kilawin results in a softer, more broken-down consistency after being grilled.

Hence, Pulpog is Ilocano Pork (Liempo) Kilawin with vinegar version. It’s very easy to learn how to cook Pulpog. Just grill it lightly and finish the cooking with the vinegar. If you can, grill it in an open wood fire as I find that that also lends to the overall authenticity of the dish. Now I know that the original Pulpog needs a grilled pork blood (betamax) as well but the shared recipe does not have it. Hopefully soon Ill make one with the pork blood as well.

This Pulpog Kilawin recipe is perfect for those who love Filipino cuisine, grilled pork, and vinegar-based dishes. It’s a great dish to make for special occasions or for a casual family dinner. And with its simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll be able to make this dish in no time.

So, what are you waiting for? Give this Pulpog recipe a try and enjoy the bold and tangy flavors of this traditional Ilocano dish. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out, this dish is sure to be a hit in your kitchen.

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