For non-Ilocanos but faithful Pinapaitan lovers out there, I am not saying that your Pinapaitan with no “pait” or bile is fake, I am just saying that I grew up with Pinapaitan living to its name. I have tasted that bile that represents Ilocano’s love for the bitter palate and will always be looking for it when I eat papaitan.
What is Pinapaitan?
Pinapaitan or in some regions of the Philippines called ‘papaitan,’ is a Filipino stew that originated in the Northern part of the Philippines. The word ‘pait’ means bitter. The said stew usually consists of animal offal such as tripes, liver, intestines, pancreas, kidney, and heart.
The original recipe was cooking goat meat, but now beef substitutes have become popular. Most modern Filipino recipes are no longer using goat meat because it is rare and unavailable in local markets.
As mentioned earlier, the ‘bile’ ingredient defines the Ilocano dish as it really gets it to be called as ‘Pinapaitan.’ This bile if you’re curious, is the one that comes from the goat or cow’s bitter juice extracted by the liver.
Putting the bile ingredient has become a really great debate among locals with others. Cooking their version of Pinapaitan is bile-free as tossing in the liver and intestines are already enough to replicate the bitterness.
It is, indeed, an acquired taste. As for me, I grew up in Ilocos Norte with this dish being introduced and my parents waste no time in cooking Pinapaitan with the notorious bile in it. Too much bile will definitely ruin the dish, but those Ilocanos who cooked it would know the right amount to put.
The scarcity of goat meat, and even nowadays, the price of beef meat as it’s a known substitute, affect the number of times locals will cook this bitter stew. For these reasons, cooking the goat meat to the classic Pinapaitan is reserved for festivities and special occasions. It has been an unspoken rule to cook Pinapaitan as a special dish in celebrations because you will expect your guests to ask for it. Pinapaitan to partner as an appetizer or ‘pulutan’ with a Filipino gin or beer.
And really, I cannot blame them because pinapaitan and alcohol seemed like a sinful pair because it tastes so good together!
How to Cook the Classic Pinapaitan (Goat Innard Stew)?
Here’s the most accurate way to cook the classic pinapaitan using goat meat taken from the post of panlasangpinoymeatrecipes.com:
1-kilo goat innards (tripe, lungs, small intestines, kidney)
1 head whole garlic
3 Tbsp. ginger, sliced into strips
1-inch ginger, crushed
1 head garlic, chopped
2 red onion, chopped
⅛ cup spring onion, chopped
1 small packet plain sinigang mix (tamarind)
3 pcs siling haba (green finger chili), sliced
½ cup patis
salt and pepper to taste
How to Cook:
Wash the goat’s tripe, lungs, small intestines, and kidneys thoroughly and set aside the intestines.
In a medium-size, pot put the tripe, lungs, kidneys, whole garlic and crushed ginger with enough water just to cover the meat.
Boil for at least 15 minutes then drain. Let is cool and set aside.
In another pot, put the small intestines and fill with water just enough to cover the intestines.
Boil for at least 15 minutes then drain the intestines and set aside to cool. Save the green liquid from the boiled intestines which you will use later as papait.
Slice all the goat innards into tidbits. In a small pan saute garlic until fragrant then follow the onions and ginger and saute until the onions are soft.
Add the goat innards and saute for about 9 minutes or until the innards start to produce oil.
Pour some fish sauce or patis and stir for 4 minutes then pour water just enough to cover the innards. Simmer for at least 1 hour or less or until the meat is tender. Add water if the liquid is evaporating too much.
Last but not the least add the siling haba, sinigang mix and the papait (the green enzyme).
Add the sinigang mix and the papait a little at a time until the desired bitterness and sourness is achieved.
Simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes and season with salt, pepper, and granulated seasoning.
Serve hot with steamed rice.
The essential rule in cooking Pinapaitan is to make sure that you take an extra step of cleaning the innards. You have to rub and squeeze it with banana leaves to remove the musky odor and look inviting to eat. This is best in winter. Enjoy!