Ka Betty: The Batali of Batangas

During our time at Taal Lake, Ka Betty, our caretaker, found a way to our hearts through our stomachs. The woman is a cooking machine. While we lounged in our tree house, hiked Taal Volcano, and did some lakeside yoga, Ka Betty was busy cooking away. 8-hour slow smoked tunas, pork belly adobo, sticky rice cakes smoked in banana leaves and topped with roasted coconut and local honey, a boodle feast, fern tendergreen salad picked right from the premises, tuna spring rolls, veggie spring rolls, banana spring rolls, longanisa (sweet sausage), garlic rice, lentil soups, a new drink variation like lemongrass water or young coconut (buko) juice with every meal, we could go on! The best part is that every single ingredient mentioned was organic and locally caught or farmed.

“This is the best food I’ve ever eaten” – K’s reaction to the boodle feast as she slurped up her favorite food, pork belly, using her hands to make a perfect bite with rice and licking her fingers as she finished.

“How do you make this?! What ingredients do you use? How long do you cook for?” – S inquired on every single edible thing put in front of him.

Check out the photos, and as much info on a favorite Filipino recipe as we could decipher from the legend herself. If you like to cook, take her directions below and do some trial and error. If you get it right, this stuff is AMAZING and the pride of many Filipino homes.

Pork Adobo – Recipe

Pork Meat: Best to use Pork Belly – but can use Spare Ribs, or a bone-in pork chop. Make sure there is sufficient fat on the meat if you choose the latter, this will bring out the marinade’s flavor.

Marinade Ingredients:

-3 parts soy sauce (main liquid ingredient)

-1 part cooking oil (canola, vegetable) — don’t use olive oil

-a few fresh of cloves garlic, to taste, smashed and minced

-1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar, to taste

-A couple spoonfuls of ground black pepper, to taste

– 1 yellow or sweet onion (chopped or sliced the long way – doesn’t matter). The onion is just as much of a main ingredient as the pork, so add this in liberally.

-1 part distilled white vinegar (add chopped red hot chili peppers and garlic and let soak), this is the dipping sauce.

Prep:

Mix the soy, oil, garlic, sugar, and pepper for the marinade. Marinate the meat in a plastic freezer bag, completely emerged. Ka Betty says you can marinate anywhere from overnight to 15 minutes prior to cooking (if you’re in a rush). Obviously the longer you marinate, the more tender and tasty it will be. Once you’re ready to cook, drain the meat but keep the remaining marinade off the the side, you’ll use it later.

Ideally you will cook the meat on a charcoal or wood fire grill, but if you don’t have one, you can cook it in a dutch oven or a cast iron pot with a cover. Heat some extra oil in the oven/pot and drop the meat and onions in. Cook and stir frequently on low heat until the meat is browned and tender. Make sure the sugar/soy doesn’t burn. Once the meat is done and a bit crispy on the outside. Add the rest of the marinade and warm it all up together.

Once it’s done, serve with steamed white or jasmine rice. Serve with the vinegar dipping sauce on the side.

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