Humba is a Filipino braised pig dish that originated in the Philippines’ Visayas Islands. Pork belly is slow-cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, black peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, and fermented black beans (tausi) flavored with muscovado sugar until very soft. Hard-boiled eggs and banana flowers are frequently included.
For decades, Chinese-Filipino cuisine has been a part of our culture. The Chinese have shared not only their bartering and bargaining tactics, but also their cooking with us since pre-colonial times, when traders used to dock on our coasts. Traditional Chinese cuisines like pancit, lumpia, and mami have been given a Filipino twist. Another example of Chinese cuisine’s assimilation into Filipno culture is Humba. The Chinese hong ma or hong ba –– red braised pork belly –– was the inspiration for this pork dish at first.
Pork Humba Ingredients
Pork humba, as previously stated, is a Filipinoized version of the original Chinese red braised pork belly. Some of the original ingredients, such as shaoxing wine or five spice powder, are removed. To recreate humba’s peculiar flavor, we utilized vinegar, bananas, sugar, and pineapple juice in place of these. These are also easy to come by in the local area, making it quick and simple for anyone to find in stores and prepare humba at home.
The purple, floral banana bloom is used in this humba dish. Many East Asian and Indian cuisines have began to include this item in their preparation. Banana blossom is a popular vegan meat alternative because of its texture and versatile flavor. In vegan shops, banana blossoms are used instead of beef or chicken in meals like ribs and even adobo.
While humba is still humba without it, this additional ingredient offers your dish a more complex and fascinating flavor layer. Artichoke can also be used as a reasonable replacement. However, I advocate using banana blossoms in your humba meal because it will make it taste much better.
The show-stopper is star anise.
Onions, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorn are among the spices found on a plate of humba. This little, star-shaped spice, which may be found in a variety of Asian dishes, is another optional addition in humba. Chinese five-spice powder contains star anise, which is an original component in the Chinese braised belly dish we mentioned earlier. The flavor of star anise can be enhanced by adding it to your dish. Its presence, despite its little size, works wonders; it may not be the show’s opening, but it certainly serves to highlight it!
Humba’s base sauce is made up of soy sauce, vinegar, and water, just like adobo. These liquids are blended and incorporated together to braise the meat afterwards, resulting in a delicious marinade.
The pleasantly sweet pineapple juice is also a part of this mix! This wonderful drink isn’t something you’d expect to find in a dish as savory as humba, but that’s what makes it so special. The pineapple juice not only serves to balance out the acidity of the soy sauce and vinegar, but it also adds sweetness to the dish. The zing of pineapple juice is exactly what your humba requires! However, if you don’t have any on hand, I recommend Sprite or 7-Up.
Humba’s major protein source is usually pork, specifically pig belly. The lean, succulent feel of pork belly in your mouth is one of the most gratifying sensations. It’s also excellent for soaking up the delicious flavors of humba. Pork legs, hocks, and occasionally even shoulders are other components of the pork that are frequently used in humba. In addition, some humba recipes use chicken as a viable and slightly healthier alternative to beef.
How to Cook Humba
Time is a key consideration when making humba. This recipe is simple to prepare, but it does take some time — perhaps an hour. A significant portion of this time is spent waiting. To render the fat more fully, we’re braising and cooking the pork over a low fire. If you’re going to marinade your pork ahead of time, aim to keep it between 30 minutes and 8 hours. If you leave it much longer, the acidic vinegar and pineapple juice will begin to break down some of the compounds in the meat.
- 1 Pot
- 1 bowl
- 1 Spoon
- 1 Chopping Board
- 1 Gas Range
- Heat the cooking pot then brown the pork belly
- Cook until the onions are tender, then add the garlic.
- Put-in the soy sauce, peppercorn, bay leaves
- Allow to boil after adding the pineapple juice. Simmer until the pork is cooked through (add water as needed)
- Add the vinegar and wait for the mixture to re-boil. Simmer for 3 minutes
- Simmer for 5 minutes after adding the salted black beans and brown sugar.
- Cook for 5 to 8 minutes after adding the dried banana flowers.
- Transfer to a serving plate and serve. Share and enjoy!