Tocino is Spanish for bacon or cured meat. In the Philippines, it is a red sweet pork breakfast dish that you must dip in vinegar… Just as most bacons are reddish in color, I think in the old days this was a result of adding saltpeter or potassium nitrate or is it sodium nitrate to preserve the meat. We have gotten so used to reddish breakfast pork fare that we continue the tradition today mostly with red food coloringâ€¦ On the same day I made tapang baka, I decided to make my first batch of tocino as well. Take some pork loin or boneless pork chops and slice thinly. For a kilo of pork add about 2-3 tablespoons of rock or kosher salt and 4-6 tablespoons of granulated white sugar. Press the salt/sugar mixture onto both sides of the meat and put this is a clean bowl to cure in the refrigerator for at least two days before frying or freezing for future use. Use more salt and sugar if necessary but keep the proportion the same (that means, more sugar than salt).
If you want the traditional red color you can either add saltpeter if you know how to use it safely or I tried a few drops of red food coloring diluted in two tablespoons of water and added that to the meat and mixed. Some recipes on the internet suggest paprika as an alternative coloring agent. The food coloring does nothing for the flavor but it is a visual thing for some folks. After a couple of days â€œcuringâ€ inside the refrigerator, just heat up a pan over high heat, add some vegetable oil and fry the tocino until it just caramelizes slightly on both sides. Comfort food in our home included fried beef tapa and or pork tocino with rice and egg. Vinegar served on the side is absolutely necessary. I also like this meal for dinner as well. Anywhere in the world, these two recipes can transport you back home for a fleeting moment. The smell in your kitchen will last a little longer!