July 30, 2011

humba (braised pork)

Humba cooked by a relative in Inopacan, Leyte.
humba – (húm-bâ; Cebuano, Boholano, and Waray [eastern Leyte] dish) [n.] braised fatty pork or pig belly.

a.k.a. humba Bisaya in Cebuano
umba in Capampangan

Big serving slices of fatty pork, complete with thick layer of pork fat and skin, are stewed in mixed vinegar, soy sauce, water and spices (crushed garlic, peppercorn and laurel leaves, etc.). It is simmered for long hours till oil from pork fat exuded and blended with the gravy, and the meat very tender with and pork fat having a jelly-like consistency that a fork or knife would sink effortlessly into it when pricked or pressed.

In some places of northeastern Mindanao, eastern Visayas, and Laguna, tahure, tausi, and skinless peanuts are also added in cooking humba. The Visayans would add peanuts and spoonfuls of brown sugar to enhance taste.

In eastern Visayas, the Waray version would have the skin of pork removed before cooking, leaving only the fatty layer and meat in the pot, skinless peanuts is also added. 

A tray of humba sold at an eatery in Panabo City.
The old version of humba in Central Luzon (particularly the provinces of Pampanga and Tarlac) and in Tagalog region that includes Metro Manila, have chunks of cracked panocha (molded raw sugar) or several spoonfuls of muscovado sugar added in cooking to enhance taste. They would also use crushed tahure (salted bean curd) or tausi (black beans) instead of toyo (soy sauce). They would even add peanuts, kinchamsay (dried banana blossom), and/or ripe saba banana when cooking the dish.

Some local Chinese restaurants in Metro Manila would add kinchamsay to this dish. 

In Iba, Zambales, humba has chunks or big slices of very ripe saba banana (Philippine sweet plantain). 

In Iba, Zambales, humba has big slices of very ripe saba (plantain) banana.

Reheating the humba for several days on very low fire at least an hour everyday (for 2 to 3 days) and occasionally turning over the meats would render the dish more flavorful, more tender, and tastier. When reheating, a little more water mixed with little more vinegar and soy sauce may be added to keep the dish saucy and the meat from getting deep fried by the pork lard. The more the humba is reheated, the more delectable it would become

Learn to cook with this simple humba recipe


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