When it’s Fiesta time in little towns across the island of Cebu, someone inevitably is tasked with cooking up a really big batch of humba, a sticky sweet version of adobo most people think, but really more likely a variation on the Chinese dish that has a similar name… whatever its origins, it is a mainstay of festive celebrations and this version is a true bulk fiesta humba, not a home kitchen snazzy version, posted here many years ago.
To make cut up bone-in pieces of pork, in this case pata or shank. Brown this in some oil, preferably lard. Then in a large pan, saute chopped garlic, onion, green onions and black beans. Add the pork, and depending on volume, say 3-4 kilos worth of pork, add two family size bottles of Sprite or 7Up. I kid you not. :) No water. Just the soda. Then add soy sauce bay leaves and let this simmer until the pork is tender. Some folks add a touch of five spice or star anise, others throw in dried banana blossoms.
I was shocked by the amount of 7Up, but figured the soda helped to tenderize the meat, and the sugar took the place of granulated sugar or palm sugar. One of our commissary chefs, Tito, can make this blindfolded and in quantities that could feed several barangays worth of people… He also adds some vinegar to temper the sweetness of the dish. Let this simmer until thick and sticky and the meat is extremely tender. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
Cooking time can vary, from say 1.5-3.0 hours, depending on the pork used. Add a bit of water if it is starting to get too thick. Watch closely in the later stages of cooking because as the sauce thickens, as it could start to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
The results were predictably sweet, but surprisingly hearty and satisfying. We served this over steamed corn grits or mais. :)