Tocino is a salt cured meat preparation common to most of the Spanish- speaking countries, especially Puerto Rico and Cuba. It is usually prepared using pork fatback and fried before adding to the dishes. It is usually served as an entrée. In Philippines, (where the influence of Spanish cuisine is clearly visible) this dish is a very popular treat and its preparation time is little longer in comparison to its Latin American counterparts. The usage of this meat variant is similar to lardons , which are popular in French Cuisine.
Tocino Recipe – Ingredients, and Method of Preparation in Philippines
The Filipino chefs slice the meat into thin strips, cure it and marinate it for atleast three days in cold storage or refrigerator. Choice of typical Filipino ingredients like annatto, Anise wine, salt, water, sugar, and saltpeter makes this recipe unique. These ingredients are combined in a separate container and poured over the meat strips and left to marinate and cured for three days. After three days the marinated meat strips are boiled, fried, or cooked depending on the taste preferences of the eaters involved. Originally, the strips of meat were marinated using only 3 ingredients like saltpeter, sugar and salt, and sometimes pineapple juice is added for imparting slight tarty flavor.
It has been observed that certain Pinoy chefs use wide range of spicy concoctions to make the dish. Some use citrus fruits like orange juice or pineapple juice, garlic or citrus sodas like 7-Up®, and Sprite® in combination to regular marination flavorings. It has been observed that most of the Filipino immigrants like to serve this dish in typical westernized way by frying it. Another notable thing is that no oil is required to fry this dish because tocino has some oil of its own.
Kampangan immigrants cook this dish in a slightly different way. They continue to combine the tocinio with its mix for 2-3 hours before leaving it to marinate for a day. Then they serve the dish at room temperature and have named it burong babi, which translates to fermented pork.
Tocino Recipe – Ingredients and Method of Preparation Followed in Caribbean Countries
In Latin American and Caribbean countries the Tocino is not prepared in the typical European way. Unlike Europeans who slice the meat into small pieces, the Latin Americans and Caribbean’s cube it before frying. The meat cubes are fried until they turn crunchy. The fried meat cubes are either served as an individual dish or they are added to the dishes like arroz blanco con tocino or mofongo. Cubans use it to flavor their soft breads. This term is considered the Spanish equivalent of American term bacon, which is used for cured meats.
In Philippines - Tocino is served with fried egg and freshly steamed rice and the dish is known as Tosilog.