Tag Archives: humba

Humba aka Pig Hocks , my sister’s recipe

humbaI have shared my own Humba Recipe at the request of a father who wanted to cook for his kids. This time let me share a recipe cooked by my sister, Lorna in Chicago which she calls Lorna’s Humba- Pig Hocks as Comfort Food. I bet my sister is missing the Philippine so much like some of you, my dear readers.

This is not the traditional Humba recipe that mothers from the Visayas region of the Philippines teach their children. I’ve taken the influences from Filipino, Chinese, Indian, and American home kitchens to create my own version of this braised Humba that can take two to four hours’ cooking time. Of course, if you use a pressure cooker, the fragrant Humba cooks in half the time. If it’s a slow cooker you’re using, an overnight process is just as delicious.

Finding the right meat, and I don’t mean pork belly either, meant going to my neighborhood Polish deli, Deli 4 U, across the street from my suburban home in Illinois — and enjoying the thick, succulent slabs of not-very-fattening but definitely gelatinous pig hocks. Should I say I am in Pig Heaven? Since there were no dried Azucena flowers (tuberoses) available as a garnish, I used dried lily flowers, an extremely delectable substitute from San Francisco’s Chinatown.

According to MonsterGuide.net: “Pork hocks are also called pork shanks, Schweinshaxe, or Eisbein. Pork hocks are sliced from the hind leg or pork foreleg between the knee and the ankle. This is a tough meat as it is a part of a “work” muscle, but it is very tasty though not tender. Although not as popular as pork ribs, it is still a well-liked meat. Pork hocks, and pork in general, are available as natural, or organic, meat.”

Before we start, let’s review the term, “bouquet gaarni,” a remnant from my B.S. Hotel and Restaurant Administration college days at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

BOUQUET GAARNI: A bundle of spices and herbs, the aromatics, are placed in a square of muslin cloth and tied together with butcher twine (“lambo”). I use a muslin bag sachet normally used for tea and I fill it up with my aromatics. If you don’t have any of the above but you have a tea strainer, you can use this, too.

I prefer using a bouquet gaarni instead of mixing the aromatics with the pig hocks because I don’t like biting into peppercorns or cardamon seeds. The bouquet gaarni is braised with the rest of the ingredients and is removed before eating.

Bon Appetit!
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Humba, Braised Pork with Black Beans

I have been receiving quite a few emails requesting for a Humba recipe. I remember Humba quite well as I grew up eating this tasty dish in my growing years in Cebu. The tausi or black beans created quite a distinct contrast to the sweetness of the pork. It’s been quite a while since I cooked Humba. It was actually the readers’ emails that inspired me to cook it today for lunch. Let me show you a few emails that inspired me to cook it today.

Samantha : “First of all I think it is really neat to have somebody like you who can help some of the filipinos here in the states who are craving for filipino food but don’t have the recipe’s on how to cook for their favorite dishes. I am one of those filipinos here in the state. I am from Cebu and I really need a recipe for a good “HUMBA.” I remembered my Mama fixed all the times when I was very young then. I tried to cook humba here in the state but there is something missing and I don’t know what it is. So, if you can help me I would really appreciate it.”

Then a father with three kids wrote “it’s just a few days ago that i got back into cooking after several years of buying stuff from the restaurants, fastfoods, carenderia….this time, i had no choice but to give it up since my children (3 of them) are staying with me after spending 2 years with their mom.

i was kinda looking for the recipe for the cebuano “humba”. i hope you have it in your list.”

This Humba is dedicated most especially to both of you and to all my Cebuano readers who miss Visayan dishes or YOU, if want to try Humba for a change. There are many versions of Humba. In some recipes, the whole pork is cooked first before cutting into serving pieces. In this recipe, we will cut the pork into serving pieces.


1 kilo Pork Pigue (Pork Ham), cut to serving pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 sprig of oregano
1 bay leaf
2 Star Anise (optional but I love the star anise twist to the Humba flavor)
1 teaspoon pepper corn

3 tablespoons tausi or salted black beans

1/2 cup of banana blossoms (for a nice decorative touch)

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