People of Bacolod City (where I live now) are very fond of their comfort soup called the KBL, short for Kadyos, Baboy, and Langka. Meanwhile, the people of San Carlos City have their own comfort soup. It’s locally called bitsoylas or bitsuelas, but it’s actually a soup of white beans cooked with pork. So, for you my friends, here’s the Habichuelas de San Carlos Recipe.
The Habichuelas de San Carlos Recipe
Usually, it is my mother who cooks this back at home when I was still living with them. Last November, though we went back to my hometown San Carlos City and the first thing I sought was bichuelas. This time, it was prepared by my aunt Donna. She has an eatery in downtown San Carlos and she is known for her bichuelas. People would eat there or buy bichuelas for takeout.
Though I know how to cook this because my elders’ culinary genes run through me, I would rather just eat. But this time, since it’s enhanced quarantine for Covid-19, I am making some for my family. Cooking is therapeutic and has been making me sane while staying at home.
- 1 cup white beans
- 1 whole pork hock, sliced (front leg)
- Thumb-sized ginger
- Cooking oil
- 3 garlic cloves, pounded
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 pork cube seasoning (optional)
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- Tomato sauce (optional)
- Wash the white beans and soak them in water overnight.
- Rinse the beans again. Place them in a pot and add at six cups of water. Cook over charcoal for at least a hour or until the beans have burst open. Or you may cook them in a pressure for maybe 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
- Blanch the pork hocks in salted boiling water for at least five minutes. Discard the water.
- Saute the onions and garlic for a minute and stir the pork hocks. Season with salt and add in the pork cube. Let fry for a bit and add enough water to cover.
- When the pork is tender, add the carrots and white beans. Let boil for about 6-8 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and red bell pepper. Cover and let cook for another 3 minutes. Then it’s ready to be served with rice.
Procedure Option 2
- Follow 1 and 2 above.
- When the beans are a bit tender, season them with salt.
- Add the pork hocks. You may need to adjust the water level to cover the pork. Pour in some hot water if needed to cover the pork slices.
- Boil until the pork is tender. Remove from heat.
- In a separate pot, saute the onions and garlic.
- Fry the carrots and the pork cube.
- Pour in the white beans with pork hock. Adjust the seasonings and bring to a boil.
- Add in the cabbage and bell pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and serve hot.
White or Red
You may add tomato sauce or paste into your habichuelas dish. That will add some sour notes as well as color into your dish.
But since I was after the comforting soup, I opted to do away with the tomato sauce. I wanted the soup to be milky white and it really shows while boiling.
An Heirloom Recipe
The habichuelas de San Carlos is sort of an heirloom recipe because it has been cooked for several generations in the Oliva family of San Carlos. Our late grandfather was an army chef of a Spanish descent who settled in this quaint city in the north.
Pretty much everyone in our family, boys and girls alike, are handy and ingenious in the kitchen. That’s why, even if I just eat this dish all the time, I can already imagine how it is cooked. Also, since this is my first time to do this, I had my cousin from San Carlos coaching me through messenger. hehe
I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s another dish to make with your pork hocks!
My Family Enjoyed
The whole family enjoyed this Habichuelas de San Carlos recipe that I cooked for them. Even the kids ate a lot of the carrots because it tastes good, as the flavors of the beans and pork have seeped in.
This is actually a nutritious dish with the beans being high in protein, plus it has pork and vegetables. So this is good for the kids.
However, it can cause joint paints to those who already have elevated levels of uric acid. The uric acid content of the white beans can trigger gout and arthritis, so eat in moderation if you have pre-existing conditions.
My Cousins’ Version
From San Carlos City, my mother’s side of the family has already been scattered to Ormoc City, Zamboanga City, and in Manila. But pretty much all of us uncles, aunties, and cousins can cook bichuelas. Below is my cousin Dennis’ version, as they serve it in San Carlos City.
Other homecooking recipes
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- DIY Shabu-shabu Hot Pot Recipe for the Family
- How to Cook KBL (Kadyos, Baboy, Langka): Ilonggo Comfort Food
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