(Chicago) – There’s always something Spanish in every Filipino. It is evident in the last names of most of us, in skin color of a few, in religious belief of the majority, in facial structure, in politics, in public festivities, in architecture, in our alphabet and in many other aspects of our lives. With the Philippines under the rule of the Spaniards for more than 300 years, we have them in our system, in our veins and even in our palate.  Our food is almost Spanish.

“Fritada” means fried. Afritada is made up of browned pork (or any meat) simmered in fresh tomatoes and finished with oven-roasted (browned) tomatoes, onions and olive. Thanks to Amy Besa for this wonderful recipe.


  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into eights
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large onions, peeled and cut into eights
  • 3 lbs picnic pork, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled and lightly smashed
  • 15 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and quartered
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 whole jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
  • ½ cup pitted olives


Preheat oven to 425F. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the lower third of the oven, tossing occasionally, until well browned, about 40 minutes

Heat the remaining oil in a large pan over medium high and brown the onions for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to brown evenly. Scoop out the onions using a slotted spoon and put in a separate bowl with a strainer to drain the oil.

Pat the pork dry. Pour back to the pan the oil collected from onion and heat oil again on medium high.  Working in batches so as not overcrowd the pan, brown the pork on all sides for about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the browned pork to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Saute garlic for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes to break them down. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add browned pork, fish sauce and jalapeno, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once the meat is tender, add bell pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and add fish sauce and black pepper as necessary.  Add the cooked onions, potatoes and olives and simmer for 2 minutes. Ready to serve with hot steamed rice.

Save the left over, store in the the fridge properly covered and believe me, it will taste better the next day.