From across the miles, over a phone call, my best friends in the Philippines requested me to post a recipe on Bitswelas Guisado- Green Beans Sautéed with Pork. The Pilipino word ‘bitswelas’ comes from the Spanish term ‘habichwelas’ which means beans. I have cooked this dish a gazillion times over the years but never got to post it on this blog. This is one of those everyday meals in my repertoire that is so easy to cook, so commonplace that I have the recipe in my head and not written down. Well, I needed to change that today. Good things need to be recorded.
I used to cook this dish long before I was even married. So that’s how long I’ve known this recipe. The only thing that differed is the way I sliced the green beans. If I was diligent, I sliced it diagonally in tiny pieces. If I was pressed for time on a busy weeknight, I sliced the beans in 1 to 2-inch length bite-sized pieces and tossed it all in the skillet or wok to sauté.
The request for the recipe came from my best friends when we got together for an overseas phone chat last week. Just like the ease of cooking this dish, my best friends’ friendship and camaraderie are easy on my soul. Veng, Tepton, Lily and Irene live in the Philippines, and I have missed them all these years I’ve lived in America. True friendships don’t get old, they just get better. Even with time and distance between us, we are never apart in spirit. Through the years, we’ve shared everything – happiness, sadness, fears, laughter, tears, joy, good news and bad, secrets, stories, recipes and so much more. There is something to be said about school friends. In my case, my college friends were the best in my life. We met and came together at a time when we were at the crossroads of personal growth, intellectual learning, and ready to step out to conquer the world. If you can be friends in college and continue to be connected after graduation for a lifetime, then that is one special bond that is precious.
And just like old friends, this all-time favorite recipe will remind you of meals around the table that evoke warmth and love. The vegetables are crisp and fresh. The ground pork is savory and adds a hearty dimension to the entire dish. Try cooking this easy meal for your family this week. Like all good things in life, this is meant to be savored again and again.
Bitswelas Guisado- Green Beans Sauteed with Pork
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic peeled, minced
- 1 whole onion sliced
- 1 Tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 1/4 pound ground pork
- 1 cup organic vegetable broth or use beef or chicken
- 12 ounces bitswelas (green beans) sliced in 1/4-inch length pieces, about 3 cups
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in halves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- for serving steamed rice
- In a large skillet or wok, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough after 1 to 2 minutes, saute the garlic and onions.
- Add the patis (fish sauce) and vinegar.
- To the skillet, add the ground pork and broth. Mix well. Cover and cook for 8 minutes or till the meat turns from pink to brown.
- When ground pork is cooked, add the bitswelas (green beans) and halved cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and black pepper. Blend ingredients. Continue cooking for 5 minutes more till vegetables are done.
- Serve warm with steamed rice.
- Cook's comments: Feel free to substitute one whole medium-sized tomato, chopped, if cherry tomatoes are not available.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.