Igado Recipe and Nostalgic Memories

Yesterday, I suddenly missed home and craved for igado –  a comfort food for me. So I decided to whip it up for dinner. I tried to recall mama’s Igado Recipe.

Igado is a classic Ilocano dish that’s a staple during our family gatherings. For me, the best igado recipe is done by my Mama. Hers is always a hit.

pork igado recipe
The pork wasn’t as thinly sliced as it should be. But heck, it was still yummy!

The pork, liver and heart, along with potatoes, carrots and red pepper, are sliced painstakingly into long, thin pieces. If it’s a big family gathering, imagine the kind of production that goes into slicing alone! Kilos and kilos of meat – bloody task indeed.

I grew up in a pig-raising family. My forester-agriculturist Lolo Indong had a full ‘apartment complex’ of eight pigpens at the back of his house in the province. Each pen is as big as a good-sized bedroom, hahaha! But Lolo never raised the pigs for commercial consumption (as far as I can remember). I guess it was just a hobby for him.

The highlight of Lolo’s piggy hobby comes during December. The rest of the year, one pig (or two, depending on the number of guests – apos, balikbayan children – coming home for the holidays) is fattened up and prepared for the table. The sad fate of pigs… 🙁

In Baguio, my parents also raised pigs, though on a smaller scale. Just the same, a pig was always fattened up for Christmas. The slaughter is always scheduled in the early morning of the 23rd. Or the 24th? I don’t remember very well now.

But I remember the house would be abuzz with activity –  dad sharpening knives, an uncle setting up the area near the pen, a wood-fire burning, a huge pot of water boiling on it…  The pigpens were located down a 20-step or so descent from the main house, surrounded by thick bamboo groves. The pigs are agitated, probably feeling the tension in the air.

Once we hear the holiday pig crying, my sisters, cousins and I would gather and watch from above. I’ll spare you the gory details. (Oh well. I know it’s cruel. But how do you think the meats we buy at the market get there? I aspire to be vegetarian… One day. One day…)

The Christmas buffet table, of course, always included the hearty igado… along with Mama’s Christmas Ham… and dinuguan… and dinakdakan… and barbecue… Oh my, what a carnivorous family we are!

Sorry, I got lost in memories. Anyway, here’s the igado recipe done Mama’s way. I hope you enjoy it!


1/2 kilo pork tenderloin or shoulder (kasim), sliced thinly

1/4 kilo pork liver, sliced thinly

1/4 kilo pork heart, sliced thinly

1 medium sized onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 piece medium sized ripe tomato, cut into cubes

1 cup potatoes, peeled and sliced 2″ long

1 piece medium sized carrot, peeled and sliced 2″ long

1 piece medium sized red bell pepper, sliced 2″ long

1/2 cup green peas or chick peas (garbanzos)

1/4 cup raisins (or 1 small box)

1 cup of water or broth

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp vinegar

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp cooking oil

Ideally, marinate sliced pork in soy sauce and vinegar for an hour before cooking. But if you don’t have time, you can leave this out.

Heat cooking oil in pan. Saute onions, garlic, bay leaf, tomatoes and pork. Keep stirring until meat browns a bit (“sangkutsa”). If you did not marinate the meat, now is the time to add vinegar, soy sauce and a bit of the water. Cover, reduce heat, and do not stir until the mixture boils.

Cook until meat is tender, stirring occasionally after the unang kulo. Add water as necessary. Add liver and heart. Continue to cook over low heat for about 5 more minutes.

Stir in potatoes, carrots, peas, and pepper. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Adjust taste to your liking. I like mine on the sweetish side. Let simmer for a few minutes more, top with raisins. Return lid for one final simmer.

Serve with hot steaming rice!


I prefer leaving out the liver and heart because 1) I’m not a big fan of them, 2) too much uric acid for my joints! But my liverless and heartless (teehee) igado as pictured above turned out just as well.

I also leave out garbanzos and peas most of the time because my family don’t eat them anyway, and I, being the Ilocano girl that I am, end up eating all the peas just so they don’t go to waste. Bleh. And, oh yeah, too much uric acid too.

Do you have an igado recipe to share?

7 thoughts on “Igado Recipe and Nostalgic Memories

  1. hi chats! i’ll copy this recipe ha. thanks for posting. yours look yummy unlike the one my househelp cooked earlier. para lang siyang menudo. major disappointment ang igado niya. 🙁

  2. @cessna! Pag madaming bisita, we kill two pigs – one for lechon. Pero hindi namin forte ang lechon. But yung na-turbo na pig’s head is also another fave. Sige, igado na lang toka ko, haha!

    @ann! Baka she forgot the bay leaf? Crucial ang dahon na yan, or else walang lasa talaga. 😉 I hope this one turns out better.

    @gil! Ay, napadaan ka! I’m sure miss mo na ang lutong Pinoy. Hindi ko pa natikman ang sisig mo. Miss ko din ang crispy crablets haha. Take care!

  3. my hubs loves Igado but he doesn’t eat liver so his Mom makes it with more pork instead…and since they like the sauce, almost broth-y yung version nila 🙂

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