The Happy Home Cook: Embutido (Filipino Meatloaf) with Homemade Banana Ketchup

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From The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey – from Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond



If there’s one comfort food that both Americans and Filipinos identify with, it’s meatloaf. Filipino meatloaf, or embutido, does have a few distinct and tasty advantages over its American counterpart. Embutido is usually made with ground pork rather than beef, and embutido is usually fortified with whole hard-boiled eggs stuffed right into the loaf. The hard-boiled eggs not only act as extenders for the meat, but they also make for a beautiful presentation once the meatloaf is sliced. Although traditional embutido is usually wrapped in foil and steamed, I prefer to bake embutido uncovered so that it can be smothered with a sweet banana ketchup glaze. My rendition of embutido also uses 1 lb (500g) each of ground beef and ground pork, but you can choose to use 2 lbs (1 kg) of all beef or all pork.

Serves 4-6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

For the meatloaf:

1/3 cup (20 g) panko bread crumbs
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Homemade Banana ketchup (see recipe below) or store-bought banana ketchup
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
1 lb (500 g) ground beef
1 lb (500 g) ground pork
3 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed

For the glaze:

1/3 cup (80 ml) Homemade Banana Ketchup or 1/3 cup (80 ml) store-bought banana ketchup

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, black pepper and 1 tbsp banana ketchup. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add the onion, the green and red bell peppers, and the salt and stir-fry until the onion softens and is translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry until the garlic just begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool in the pan.

Add the ground beef, ground pork and cooled vegetables to the large bowl with the bread crumb mixture. Using a rubber spatula, or your hands, gently mix until everything is well combined.

Using half of the meat mixture, form a rectangular bed (about 10 x 5 in or 25 x 13 cm) in the center of a large foil-lined sheet pan. Nestle the three eggs along the center of the bed. Form a loaf shape around the eggs with the remainder of the meat mixture, making sure that the eggs are completely enclosed. Brush the 1/3 cup of the banana ketchup mixture onto all sides of the meatloaf.

Place the meatloaf in the oven for 60-75 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer (inserted into the meat, not the eggs) registers 145°F (63°C). To further brown and caramelize the glaze, place the meatloaf under the broiler for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with steamed white rice.

Homemade Banana Ketchup

Makes about 1 ½ cups (375 ml)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes


2 tablespoons Annatto Oil or regular vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 large ripe bananas, about ¾ lb (350 g) total, mashed
½ cup (125 ml) cider vinegar
¼ cup (65 ml) water
2 tablespoons brown sugar, plus more, to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 bay leaf

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir to combine, cooking for 2-3 minutes until the tomato paste breaks down and melts into the onion and garlic.

Place the mashed banana into the pan and stir until they pick up a reddish-orange hue from the Annatto Oil (if using) and tomato paste. Pour in the vinegar and water, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the brown sugar, black pepper, ground clove, salt and soy sauce, and stir to combine. Drop the bay leaf into the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and then simmer, partially covered, for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf.

Place the banana mixture into the carafe of a blender and puree until smooth. If the banana ketchup is too thick, it can be thinned out with additional water. Taste the ketchup for seasoning and add more sugar if a sweeter ketchup is desired.

Store the banana ketchup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Cook’s Note: For a spicier version of this ketchup, add 1-2 chopped Thai chili peppers (or 1 small jalapeno chili pepper) and saute along with the onion and garlic. Continue with the rest of the recipe as written.


Marvin Gapultos

Marvin Gapultos

Marvin Gapultos is the author of the celebrated food blog, Burnt Lumpia (, and was the founder of Los Angeles’ first gourmet Filipino food truck, The Manila Machine. His first cookbook entitled, "The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey--From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond" is available for sale at Barnes and Noble bookstores, as well as from Amazon. Check out his Amazon site:

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