I’ve noticed that one of the most popular entries on this blog is the one where I talked about pocherong Bisaya, the southern version of the ubiquitous nilaga or bulalo. Interestingly, search parameters that end up pointing to that post are for a different kind of pochero, the kind cooked with tomato sauce, pork, chicken, and plump, starchy saba bananas.
At our house this is the regular form of pochero, a rather thick stew made with tomato sauce, potatoes, chicken, and stewing cuts of pork. In most households, however, the same combination is referred to as afritada – so what makes pochero different from this other common stew?
Where I’m from, it’s the addition of cabbage for crunch, starchy saba for sweetness (you have to use ripe saba as opposed to the unripe ones; otherwise, you couldn’t tell the difference between the bananas and the potatoes), and thick slices of sweet, fatty lap cheong (Chinese sausages; chorizo Macau). The end result is a pleasing combination of textures and flavors: sweetness from the sausages and the bananas, a slight bitterness from the cabbage, the tang of the tomatoes in the sauce; crunchy and soft both come into delicious play, as well.
There is, truth be told, nothing better than a tureen of this delicacy on the dinner table. Others may choose to add a drop or so of patis, but I find this delicious enough on its own. Bring on the rice, please!