When asked by friends (who are not familiar with the dish) what Pochero is, I usually answer " parang nilaga pero may tomato sauce" for easier comparison. But Pochero is not Nilaga and the way it is prepared is different from Nilaga though there are similarities in the ingredients.
As a child, I always look forward for Saturdays for my mom usually cooks our (my siblings and me) favorite pochero only during weekends. Whenever we have this dish for lunch (normally), rice consumption of the family doubles. That's just show how much we all love this dish.
Allow me to share this family recipe with you. Be prepared for extra rice!
500gms pork belly (pork ribs may also be used)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can baked beans
2 gloves garlic, crushed
1 medium red onion, chopped
6 to 10 pcs. Baguio beans
1 medium cabbage, quartered
2 heads pechay, roots removed
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
4-6 pcs.banana (saba) or plantain bananas, peeled and cut diagonally into 2
cooking oil for sauteing
fish sauce to taste
In a casserole, heat oil and brown garlic.
Add onion. Once onion is almost transparent, add tomato sauce and baked beans. Simmer for 2 minutes while stirring. Add pork and sweet potatoes. Simmer for two minutes
Add 3 to 4 cups of water and simmer under low heat (to prevent burning) until pork is fork tender. *This will take around 30 minutes depending on what part of pork you used. Pork ribs takes longer to tenderize than pork belly.
At this point, the liquid should have thicken due to the sweet potatoes.
Add plantain bananas (saba). Simmer for another 5 minutes or until bananas are soft.
Add just enough fish sauce usually 2 tablespoons to taste. You may add more if you prefer.
In a separate casserole, boil 6 cups of water with 1 teaspoon baking soda. Start blanching vegetables starting with the cabbage, remove from water followed by the beans then pechay. Set aside.
Check if pork and bananas are tender, if they are, turn off heat and serve hot topped with the blanched vegetables.