I was thinking of my late dad, this Father’s Day weekend, as I cooked Sinantomas, a classic Filipino pork stew cooked in tomato sauces. This dish looks like the familiar calderetta, a favorite of dad. While the former is spicy and cooked with beef, Sinantomas has pork and is sweet-flavored.
Sinantomas is a Philippine dish of pork, simmered in tomato sauces, pineapple juice, soy sauce and seasonings. Its origins lead to the Quezon province. The original recipe uses pork ribs. But there are food shortages from the current pandemic crisis. So, I cooked with what I had — which was pork belly. The meat and potato cubes glistened in the rich, magenta-colored sauce which reduced to a thick consistency the longer it simmered on the stove-top.
This weekend is the start of summer here in America. The warm weather reminded us of the changes in the season, often, a renewal of hope for many of us. We have to be optimistic and look forward to better days of barbecues, summer cocktails, and spending more time out in the sun.
Father’s day is an American holiday. But Pinoys in the Philippines have adopted it as a holiday to celebrate, as well. To me, it’s a time to remember my late father. I never celebrated Father’s Day with dad. It’s a western concept that only materialized in the Philippine retail industry recently. My father, Gualberto Besa, was a symbol of quiet strength, hard work and resilience. He talked about his family’s World War II stories with calm, never exhibiting fear in his narrations. If my father were here today, he would reassure me about the turbulent times we’re going through. “Pray and be strong,” is what he would say. Then dad would probably scoop heaping servings of Sinantomas on his plate on a mound of steaming rice, and nod his head in approval.
Sinantomas - Instant Pot + Stove-top
- Stockpot or Dutch Oven - for stove-top cooking
- Instant Pot multicooker - for cooking in high pressure
- 1 pound pork belly or pork shoulder, fat trimmed cut into 2-inch cubes
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ cup toyo (soy sauce)
- ¼ cup banana catsup
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 whole tomatoes chopped
- 1 can (8 oz.) tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups broth (chicken, beef or pork)
- 2 whole potatoes, peeled, quartered
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup frozen green peas
- steamed rice
To cook on the stove-top:
- Marinate the pork cubes in the following: Pineapple juice, soy sauce and banana catsup. Cover and refrigerate. Keep marinated for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- When ready to cook, remove the pork from the marinade. Set the liquid aside.In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, add the oil. When oil is hot enough, saute the garlic, onions and tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes till tomatoes are soft.Add the pork cubes. The pork will render some fat and become crisp on the outside.Pour the liquid marinade and add the tomato paste.Pour the broth. Add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 50 minutes till meat is tender and sauce is reduced to a thick consistency. Stir the stew every so often. Add the frozen green peas at nearly the end of cooking. Serve warm with rice.
To cook in the Instant Pot:
- Marinate the pork with the marinade ingredients for 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.When ready to cook, remove the pork cubes from the marinade. Set the liquid aside.Click on Saute function on the keypad.Pour the oil in the inside pot. When oil is hot in 1 to 2 minutes, saute the garlic, onions and tomatoes, till soft. The tomatoes will soften in about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pork cubes and potatoes. Brown the pork and potatoes for 5 minutes.Click Cancel to turn off the Saute function.Pour the marinade liquid, tomato paste and broth. Add the green peas. Season with salt and black pepper. Cover and lock the lid. Set the valve to Sealing.Click Manual + Meats/Stews and cook on High Pressure for 25 minutes.When the timer beeps to announce cooking is done, do a Quick Release.Unlock and remove the cover carefully. Set the cover on a safe, dry surface of the counter.Click Cancel to turn off. Unplug the Instant Pot.Serve warm with steamed rice.
Notes on the Instant Pot:
- It takes about 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat before the High Pressure cooking time begins. For other multicookers, please consult the product manual.The Instant Pot is ideal to use when you need to walk away from the kitchen and don't have time to watch the stove. It also cuts cooking time in nearly half if you want to tenderize thick meat cuts.Quick Release: This is when you release the pressure instantly. Press Cancel and turn the Steam release handle on the lid to a Venting position. Wait for the steam to stop hissing before you attempt to unlock and open the lid.Safety precautions: Use accessories recommended for the Instant Pot or multicookers, like metal or silicone. Do not use glassware. For more information, read the product manual.
- Most recipes of Sinantomas deep-fry the potatoes separately, then add them to the simmering stew at the end. My son, Tim suggested, to roast the potatoes in the oven instead of deep frying. For this recipe, I chose to add the potatoes to the simmering stew to save cooking time.
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 Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. Buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multi-cooker that cooks in high and low pressure. I was not paid by the Instant Pot company to mention the product or brand nor endorse it. This is not an ad. My views and opinions are my own.