This recipe is the lighter version of Igado, a popular Ilocano dish made with strips of pork and liver slowly stewed in our favorite soy sauce and vinegar mixture. It is similar to adobo but with menudo ingredients.
Simple Igado Recipe
A dish for 'adventurous eaters, traditional Igado also consists of different pork innards such as kidney, heart, lungs etc. In this igado recipe, we will only be using pork liver combined with pork tenderloin and pork belly. So much simpler to prepare and cook in any home kitchen.
What does igado taste like?
The taste of Igado is often described as savory and tangy, with a slight sweetness from the vegetables. The dish has a distinct aroma due to the vinegar used in the cooking process. The texture of the pork and liver is tender and juicy, and the vegetables provide a lovely crunch.
It is a somewhat
Here are the key Igado ingredients:
- Pork tenderloin - is the best pork cut for igado. It's lean, tender, and requires shorter cooking time. Add pork belly for a little bit of fatty flavor. Pork butt and pork shoulder can also be used but a longer cooking time is needed.
- Pork Liver - gives Igado its distinct flavor.
- Soy Sauce - I recommend using Filipino soy sauce. You can find this online and in most Filipino stores.
- Vinegar - you can use coconut vinegar, cane vinegar, rice vinegar, white vinegar, or sukang Iloko.
- Oyster sauce - my secret to making the best-tasting Igado!
- Garlic and Onion - add a nice flavor to the sauce.
- Bell Peppers - give Igado its distinct peppery flavor. Use red bell pepper or green bell pepper.
- Green Peas - for color and texture. This is optional but I like adding it when serving igado for special occasions.
- Bay Leaves - also known as laurel leaves.
Preparing the Ingredients
The ingredients for Igado should be sliced into small and thin pieces to ensure that they cook evenly and quickly.
Here's how each ingredient should be sliced:
- Pork and liver - slice the pork into thin strips, about ¼ inch in width, and 1-2 inches in length.
- Onions - Slice the onions thinly, into strips or rings.
- Garlic - Mince the garlic finely.
- Carrots - Slice the carrots thinly, into strips
- Bell peppers - Cut the bell peppers into thin strips or small pieces.
Can I add potatoes?
Traditional Ilocano igado recipe only calls for carrots, red bell pepper, and green peas. Potatoes can definitely be added if you like. I personally prefer adding potatoes to make it more filling.
How to Make It
Here's the easiest Igado recipe:
Part 1: Marinate pork and liver
Marinate pork in soy sauce and garlic at least for 10 minutes (the longer the better). Do this as the very first step. Meanwhile, slice the vegetables and prepare the other ingredients.
To lessen the smell of pork liver, marinate it in a separate bowl in a small amount of vinegar then rinse with water. Drain well.
Part 2: Cooking
And here's how to cook igado:
A few notes:
Saute garlic and onion for depth for flavor. Add the pork and cook until no longer pink. Use high heat to help caramelize all the flavors. Add water and the rest of the ingredients, like soy sauce, bay leaf, and ground black pepper. Continue cooking until the pork is tender. Add more water as needed.
Pan-fry the liver separately in another pan. This is a good technique to prevent it from overcooking. Add it back to the pot just before it finishes cooking.
When the pork is halfway through, add carrots, potatoes, and vinegar. Don't stir right away. Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer until the vegetables have softened.
Add back the liver, along with green peas and bell pepper. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and become more flavorful!
Secret to the Best Igado
The secret to the best Igado is cooking it one day ahead and serving it the next day after all the flavors have developed. Sounds familiar? Yes, the same applies to adobo, menudo and caldereta.
When to Serve
Igado is a popular dish during fiestas, special occasions, and gatherings in the Ilocos region. Some prefer serving it as part of their monthly menu for lunch or dinner.
Serve it with a warm cup of rice. Recommended vegetable side dishes are pinakbet and ginataang gulay.
Storage and Shelf-life
Igado has a long shelf life due to its vinegar content. Store in an air-tight container and put in the refrigerator for up to a week. To further extend the shelf life, place the freezer in a container or heavy-duty freezer bags. Thaw before reheating on the stove or microwave.
Frequently asked questions
Igado is a pork-liver stew that originated in the northern part of the Philippines, particularly in the Ilocos region. Its name was supposedly derived from the Spanish word "higado" which means liver.
The best vinegar for igado is coconut vinegar, cane vinegar, rice vinegar, and sukang Iloko.
Pork liver is what gives character to the overall flavor of igado. If omitted, the dish will taste more like adobo. If fresh liver is not available, liver spread/pate can be used as a substitute.
More Filipino pork recipes...
- Pork Arroz A la Cubana
- Bicol Express
- Pork Ribs Sinigang
- Easy Pork and Garlic Adobo Recipe
- Pork Afritada
- Pork Bistek
- Binagoongang Baboy
- Pork Menudol
Watch the video on how to make Pork Igado
Pork Igado Recipe (easy)
- 600 grams pork, i used tenderloin and pork belly (cut into strips, see note 1)
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 230 grams pork liver (cut into strips)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 medium red onion (chopped)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¾ cup water or broth (note 2)
- 2 pieces laurel/ bay leaf
- 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (note 3)
- 2 medium potatoes (cut into strips)
- 1 medium carrot (cut into strips)
- ⅓ cup vinegar (note 4)
- ½ cup green peas
- 1 medium bell pepper (deseeded, sliced into strips)
- ground black pepper (to taste)
- Marinate - Place strips of pork in a bowl. Add garlic and soy sauce. Stir and marinate for 10 minutes.600 grams pork, i used tenderloin and pork belly, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 6 cloves garlic
- Prepare liver - In another bowl, place the sliced liver. Add vinegar. Stir and marinate for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, wash the liver with water then drain well. This step removes or at least lessens the smell of the liver.230 grams pork liver, 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Saute - Heat oil in a deep pot. Saute onions and garlic until fragrant and translucent. Add marinated pork. Cook over high heat until no longer pink.3 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 medium red onion
- Cook until tender - Add laurel, black pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and water. Cook just until tender. Cooking time will vary depending on the type of pork you're using. Add more water if the liquid dries up too quickly.¼ cup soy sauce, 2 pieces laurel/ bay leaf, 1 ½ teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, ground black pepper, ¾ cup water or broth
- Cook liver - Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a small pan. Pan-fry the liver with a pinch of black pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately remove from heat. DON'T FULLY COOK. Set aside.230 grams pork liver
- Add veg & vinegar - Once the pork is almost tender, add potatoes and carrots. Stir to combine. Pour vinegar (DO NOT STIR). Simmer for 12 minutes or until the vegetables have softened (do not overcook).2 medium potatoes, 1 medium carrot, ⅓ cup vinegar
- Finish cooking - Add the cooked liver, green peas, and bell pepper. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened.
- Taste and adjust salt/pepper/sugar as needed. Serve with rice and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Pork - use pork belly or pork shoulder as a substitute for tenderloin but a longer cooking time is needed.
- Broth - water and broth can be used alternatively. The broth will make the sauce more flavorful. Use ½ pc of chicken or pork bouillon so the sauce won't become too salty.
- Oyster sauce - You can also use liquid seasonings such as Knorr, Maggi, or Liquid aminos. This deepens the flavor of the sauce.
- Types of vinegar you can use are coconut vinegar, cane vinegar, rice vinegar, or sukang Iloko.
- Pot with lid - is recommended to make Igado which retains more liquid compared to a wok or a shallow pan.
- Do not overcook the liver. It can get tough and chewy.