Filipino meatloaf

Filipino meatloaf


7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

During trips to the Philippines, every aunty, cousin and distant relative invites us over for dinner. ‘You must come!’ they plead. Even if it is last minute, they go all out with a banquet of party favourites pancit and lumpia, and special fiesta fare. The generous spread is a gesture; it says they have missed us and celebrates our return.

Moreish embutido is almost always part of the line-up. Although its ingredients are now commonplace, historical ties keep it in high esteem. While this recipe is fiesta-sized and makes two embutidos, you can easily halve the amounts or freeze one for later.


Quantity Ingredient
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
2 small onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, smashed
60ml vegetable oil, plus extra to brush
40g raisins
2 tablespoons sherry or water
125ml full-cream milk
150g day-old sourdough or white bread, crusts removed, torn
1kg minced pork
70g gherkin relish
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon salt flakes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1 dried chorizo, halved lengthwise

Tomato sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
400ml tomato passata
1 tablespoon sugar
1 red bird’s-eye chilli
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt flakes


  1. To make the meatloaf, put the carrot, onion and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the vegetable mixture and cook for 10 minutes, stirring until the onion is soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, place the raisins and sherry in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse until needed.
  3. Place the milk and bread in a bowl. Stand for 1 minute or until the milk is absorbed and the bread is slightly softened. Using your fingers, break into small crumbs. Place into a large mixing bowl with the raisin mixture, vegetable mixture, minced pork, relish, Worcestershire sauce, salt and the beaten eggs. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and use your hands to combine well.
  4. Fill a large wok one-third full with water and bring to the boil. You will also need a 30 cm bamboo steamer with a tightfitting lid to sit on top. Meanwhile, brush a 30 cm length of foil with extra oil. Place one-quarter of the mince mixture in the centre of one sheet to form a 20 x 10 cm rectangle, then arrange half of the chorizo and 2 of the hard-boiled eggs down the centre, leaving a 1.5 cm border at each end. Place another one-quarter of the mince mixture on top and shape into a compact log. Roll up the foil and twist the ends tightly to enclose, then wrap in extra foil to ensure it is sealed. Repeat with the remaining mince mixture, chorizo and hard-boiled eggs. Place the meatloaf rolls in the steamer, cover with a lid, then cook for 50 minutes or until cooked through. To test, insert a skewer into a meatloaf — the juice will be almost clear. Top up the wok with extra water if necessary.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the tomato sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 4 minutes, stirring until soft. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the passata, sugar, chilli, bay leaf and salt. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and continue to cook for a further 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.
  6. Remove the meatloaf rolls from the steamer and rest for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the foil, then transfer to a serving platter. Spoon over the tomato sauce, then thickly slice to serve.

Where does it come from?

  • In Spain, embutido refers to a type of sausage; famous examples include chorizo and lomo. Embutido arrived in the Philippines during colonial times, but with time on land, evolved into two distinct dishes: longganisa (Filipino sausages) and meatloaf. While longganisa more closely resembles Spanish embutido, connecting threads between Filipino embutido and the original can be seen in old recipes, which call for pig intestine as a casing. Today, it has widely been replaced by foil.
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