It’s like adobo but it’s not, with black beans and annatto oil, it adds another layer of flavour to this interesting dish. Nilauja is a dish from Bohol Philippines made with pork bones sauteed with garlic, ginger and onions then simmered in soy sauce and vinegar with black beans.

One of my recent food discoveries was this Bohol dish called Nilauja or simply Lauja. I learned this from a Filipino TV show called Pinas Sarap. They showcased this dish during their Boholano Noche Buena episode alongside other pork dishes. Noche Buena is an important tradition in the Philippines, a time where extravagant dishes are served to celebrate Christmas eve but usually the off cuts as reserved for another time, but not in Bohol. In a typical Filipino fashion, in order for the pork bones not to go to waste, the show mentioned that Boholano’s use this part as well and serve it together with other non-off cut dishes like Bas Oy, which was showcased as well.

This is the first time I am making this one, so bear with me if the recipe below is inaccurate, I will just base my recipe from what they used on the show. I also used pork soft bones rather than back bones to give it a nice moist collagen like texture which was well suited for this type of dish. The result was phenomenal! It was really good, reminds me of adobo but not as strong as one.

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  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Filipino


Nilauja is a dish from Bohol Philippines made with pork bones sauteed with garlic, ginger and onions then simmered in soy sauce and vinegar with black beans.



Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 kg pork soft bones
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup cane vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp fermented black beans
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 thumb sized ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp annatto powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped spring onions, to garnish
  • oil


  1. In a pot heat oil then sauté garlic, onion and ginger in medium heat.
  2. Bring heat to high then add pork then brown it on all sides.  Once pork is browned, add the annatto powder and mix it evenly.
  3. Pour soy sauce, vinegar and water, bring it to a boil, lower heat to medium low then simmer for 1 hour and 15 mins or until meat is soft and liquid has dried out.
  4. Add a bit of water, give it a mix to distribute the sauce then add the fermented black beans, simmer in low heat for 15 more minutes.
  5. Season with freshly ground black pepper, remove from heat, garnish with chopped spring onions then serve.


6 Responses

  1. Nilauja is new to me, but I am sure it tastes amazing because of use of soft pork bone (yet with enough meat attached) and fermented black beans.

  2. Neil says:

    This looks lovely. I don’t often cook with pork but next time I do I might just give this a go!

  3. Chef Mimi says:

    Mmmm I know I would love this cause I love fermented black beans. And annatto. I’ll have to look for cane vinegar…

  4. Hannah says:

    I do love the distinctive funk of fermented black beans! I wonder how this might go with a meatless protein.

  5. suituapui says:

    Black beans pork, great with porridge! Love the steamed ribs with the beans at yam cha!

  6. Not sure I have had fermented black beans — Hannah describes the “funk.” They sound interesting! The whole dish does! Like Mimi, I love annatto, but have only used the seeds to make oil. Will look for the powder!

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