EF Family Cookbook: Traditional Ilocano Pinapaitan

Everlasting Footprint Family Treasures-Cookbook-Recipes

For this month’s treasured family recipe for our Everlasting Footprint Family Cookbook, Lindy Lou-Gonzalez shares her traditional Filipino dish: Pinapaitan. Celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month at your home with this easy, delicious soup recipe.

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Pinapaitan: My Ilocano Family Legacy

Pinapaitan, an exotic food that has a distinct and bitter taste, has been a part of my family’s cuisine since my childhood. I’ve always believed that in order to truly call yourself an Ilocano (the Philippines’ third largest ethnolinguistic group), you must know how to cook and eat the soup known as Pinapaitan.

My father makes the best version of this Filipino dish. He does everything from butchering the goat to serving us this delicious homemade soup. To continue this soup as a legacy recipe in my family, my brother taught me how to cook Pinapaitan just like our father did. Although my personal recipe for this Filipino dish is simple, I am able to replicate the exact taste of our family recipe.

Traditionally, the Pinapaitan recipe calls for goat organs, such as the kidneys, tripe, liver, pancreas, and heart. Since most Filipinos now live in the city, goats are less popular and we use beef organs in the recipe. For the distinct bitter taste of this exotic food, the bile of the goat or beef is also used.

The salty, sour, and bitter flavors of the Filipino soup must fight in your mouth; that is what makes it unique. The taste is difficult to describe. It’s up to you to discover. If you’ve never tried the delicious homemade soup called Pinapaitan, let your taste buds be adventurous.

Lou Family Pinapaitan Recipe

Pinapaitan Recipe Ingredients:

Beef or goat organs, including kidneys, tripe, liver, intestines, pancreas, and heart. Make sure they are fresh and cleaned very well or this Filipino soup will have a pungent smell.

Beef or goat bile
Tamarind soup
Green finger chilies
Salt and pepper to taste


Pinapaitan Recipe Directions:

  1. Sauté garlic, onion, and ginger.
  2. Add beef or goat organs, and cook the mixture until all the liquid is evaporated. Make sure that all the ingredients are cooked very well, to avoid any pungent odors in the final dish.
  3. When the liquid from the beef organs has evaporated, add 1-2 liters of water. Boil for 2-3 hours so the ingredients are cooked very well.
  4. Add the beef or goat bile, tamarind soup, and salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, add the finger chilies, and simmer the dish for another 10 minutes.
  5. I recommend serving this Pinapaitan recipe very hot and heaped over rice, which you can prepare during the soup’s final simmer. Garnish this exotic food with additional finger chilies.

Pinapaitan Soup Recipe

Because the Filipino soup’s exotic, bitter taste complements the taste of beer, many Ilocano Filipinos enjoy Pinapaitan while drinking with friends. But for me, this soup has become my comfort food. It is the Filipino dish I make when I miss my family. Sometimes, if I am not in the mood to eat anything, I go back to this homemade soup and my appetite reappears.

Now, I am teaching my daughter to cook this traditional, family Pinapaitan recipe, so she can continue our family legacy.


Recipe and Photo Credit: Lindy Lou-Gonzalez, Content Moderator


Do you have a special family recipe to share with the world? Do you have a different recipe for Pinapaitan? Tell us! Leave a comment or join our Twitter conversation.

About Catherine Powell

Catherine Powell, BA, loves to write and edit, especially with a cup of espresso on hand. Her English degree with a psych minor means she studies the rapidly-changing digital world and the workings of the human mind. Born in Germany, Catherine is inspired by the language, the culture, and her travels. She and her husband live in Tallahassee, Florida, with their Labrador-mix dog.

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