Just like in the case of Adobo, eating Mechado is a birthright. It is a braised meat dish from the Philippines that is inspired by the culinary methods of Spain. This rich and hearty stew definitely suggests “comfort food in bowl.” It is tomato-based, and with savory, tangy flavors from citrus and soy sauce. The name Mechado is derived from “mecha” meaning “wick” because of the fat that sticks out. This dish is traditionally prepared using the lean and less exciting cuts of beef. Then they are larded with fat to introduce succulence into the dish. Pork fat is normally used and inserted into the chunk of meat to achieve a “marbled meat” taste and soft texture, hence the name Mechado. This recipe does not require larding. We are simplifying the approach and adding more nutrition. With some hints of natural sweetness and spice as well.
Spicy Mechado Recipe
Soy sauce and freshly-squeezed lemon juice are key ingredients to the braising liquid. If you have access to calamansi, we highly recommend using that instead of lemon. As for the meat, pork shoulder offers the succulent direction that Mechado requires. Although this is a classic recipe, it is very forgiving. If you’d prefer to adjust the amount of ginger, jalapeño pepper, and black pepper to tame the spice, please feel free to do so. Mechado is typically made with carrots but to make this dish kid-friendly, we are using garnet yam to introduce some sweetness into the dish.
It can be enjoyed any time of the year but it’s more appreciated around the cold-weather months.
Spicy Mechado Recipe
- 1 lb pork steak (specifically pork shoulder), cubed
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tbsps soy sauce
- 2 tbsps sweet onion, sliced
- 2 tbsps ginger, grated
- 1/8 tsp salt*
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsps avocado oil
- 2 large potatoes, cubed
- 1 large carrot (or garnet yam), cubed
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup orange bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup green peas
- 2 tbsps jalapeño pepper, sliced
- In a bowl, combine pork, soy sauce, lemon juice, onion, ginger, salt and black pepper. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
- In a pot, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Fry the potatoes and garnet yam (or carrot) until the edges are lightly browned. Remove them from the pot and set aside.
- Turn heat to medium-high and add the marinated pork. Sear all sides until browned. Stir-fry the onions and ginger slightly. Reserve the marinade for later.
- Turn heat to medium and pour in the tomato sauce and the reserved marinade.
- Allow to simmer for a few minutes, add the jalapeño pepper and then pour in the water. Mix thoroughly.
- Cover the pot, turn heat to low and stew until the pork is tender (about 30-45 minutes).
- Add back the potatoes and garnet yam. Also the bell peppers and green peas. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Simmer until sauce is reduced and vegetables are cooked.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with steamed rice or bread.