Acclaimed Chef Jessie Sincioco is a proud Bulaceña. She hails from Angat, Bulacan, where her family is very active in church. One parochial tradition that Chef Jessie remembers with so much fondness and nostalgia is the Panawagan (Announcement) during Christmas. She says that it is a celebration that she gets to spend not just with her family, but with the whole community as well.
To announce the birth of Christ, the image of St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary are brought around the town, starting at the Visita ni San Jose Chapel in Sulukan, Angat, Bulacan, and stopping at four chosen homes–the last of which is the ancestral home of Chef Jessie’s family. While waiting for the Panawagan to reach their home, Chef Jessie recalls always enjoying pork barbecue cooked by her mother Carmen and her aunt, Lita Dy. When the community would finally arrive at their home, all those in the procession would join their family for even more barbecue and arroz caldo before heading back to church for Christ’s birth at midnight and Misa de Gallo at 4 am.
This joyous event of family and community coming together is a memory that Chef Jessie will treasure in her heart forever. The sights, sounds, and smells of the beloved occasion are encapsulated in the prized pork barbecue recipe from the chef’s Aunt Lita. As she whips up a batch of delicious pork barbecue for the My Pope team, Chef Jessie shares her aunt’s recipe. (Read: Cardinal Tagle’s Favorite: His Mom’s Pinangat na Sapsap Recipe)
500 g pork belly (liempo), trimmed into bacon-thin long pieces with equal distribution of fat and meat
25 g peeled
and thinly sliced garlic 3 pc sliced green finger chilies
60 ml soy sauce
40 g brown sugar 120 ml 7 Up
12 pc 8-inch bamboo
- In a stainless steel bowl, mix garlic, chilies, soy sauce, brown sugar, and 7 Up. Add pork slices and marinate overnight. Refrigerate.
- Thread the pork onto the bamboo skewers when ready to cook.
- Boil excess marinade and use for basting.
- Prepare the charcoal until red hot and grill each side of the barbecue for at least 3-5 minutes, basting occasionally.
- Serve immediately after grilling with white rice and atchara.
Text by Margaux Salcedo.
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