If you love Filipino Food, then Dinuguan needs no explanation or justification on why it’s soo good despite its appearance. But if you’re not familiar with Filipino Food, then chances are you might get grossed out by its original black color.
Basically, Dinuguan is a pork blood stew consisting of pig parts that taste surprisingly delectable and delicious.
I’ve recently learned that Dinuguan came from a Spanish influence, an adaptation of their blood stews and meat-heavy dishes (Spain colonized the Philippines and left a heavy mark in Filipino (food) culture). So I guess it’s technically false that the use of blood stews originated in the Philippines. In any case, any non-vegan Filipino who grew up in the Philippines would know, Dinuguan tastes amazing.
The problem is, not only Dinuguan defines the absolute opposite of cruelty-free, it’s also highly unhealthy. With all the fats, cholesterol, and sugar, Dinuguan is one expensive dish because it’ll create so much health problems you’d have to worry about medical bills.
So, to put a creative spin to a Filipino favorite, I’m veganizing it and making it healthier-without all the bad stuff! It’s “Filipino mom-approved” so I’m proud to say it’ll produce the same taste and flavor.
- 1 15 ounces black beans (either soaked overnight and cooked to soften, or the ready canned ones)
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups chopped extra firm tofu
- 1 cup or 8 ounces gluten cake, chopped into cubes (or seitan is okay too)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup or 8 ounces oyster mushroom (about 12-15 pieces), chopped
- 2-3 whole finger chili pepper (serrano is okay)
- pinch of salt
- pinch of ground black pepper
- ¼ - ½ cup white vinegar (I prefer the Datu Puti brand)
- 1 vegetable bullion or ¾ cup vegetable broth, or more if needed
- 1½ tablespoons sugar (organic if possible) (organic brown sugar or turbinado sugar is good too)
- 1½ tablespoons semi-sweet dark chocolate chips (non-dairy)
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter (olive oil or melted refined coconut oil is good too)
- Using a high-performance blender, puree the black beans with water. Set aside. Alternatively, you could put the black beans into a boil then use the black broth only.
- Over medium heat, fry tofu.
- Using the same pan you fried the tofu on, fry the gluten cake for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle some sugar and salt to the gluten cake. Fry for another 30 seconds.
- In a medium size pot, saute garlic and onion with oil until fragrant.
- Add chopped mushrooms and chili pepper. Season with salt, pepper, vinegar, and sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add fried tofu and wheat gluten cake to the mixture.
- Pour black beans and add dark chocolate. Mix well.
- Mix in vegan butter or oil and vegetable broth. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Simmer over low heat for another 5 minutes without stirring. Turn off heat.
- Serve with rice or rice cake on the side.
If you want this to be gluten-free, simply skip the gluten cake.
It's best to use finger chilis so seek them first. I got mine at the farmers market. If you couldn't find them anywhere, serrano peppers would be second choice. Don't skip adding chili pepper even if you don't like spicy food. Just do not puncture or cut it open so you could get the essence of the pepper (a traditional flavor of Dinuguan) without any spiciness. If you do like spicy food, feel free to cut the pepper open, even mash it.
You may adjust the seasoning toward the end to achieve the perfect balance of savory with subtle sweetness and tang with the rich, creamy texture of the sauce.