Lechon kawali! I’m guilty as charged, I can’t help but eat lots of this delicious crispy pork belly. It tastes so good its got to be healthy right!?
Kawali in tagalog means a pan or wok, so lechon kawali is pork which has been pan-fried after first being boiled until tender with aromatics for extra flavour. The exterior is salty and very crispy, whereas the inside is tender and moist with juicy meat and a little fat. The richness of the pork pairs extremely well with a transitional dipping sauce such as toyomansi (soy sauce with calamansi).
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I have three secrets to getting the best results for this delicious Filipino recipe:
- First is boiling the meat in the aromatics to make it tender and give it a nice flavour.
- Second is allowing to pork to dry out long enough before cutting it into thick slices to make sure it goes crispy when frying.
- Third is having the oil hot enough that the skin goes golden without drying out the meat. Just be careful when cooking as the oil will splash.
- 1 pork belly (about 1kg)
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp salt
- oil for frying
- toyomansi to serve
- Place the pork belly in a saucepan and add the garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns. Season with a pinch of salt. Add enough water to cover the meat.
- Bring to the boil over medium heat, then turn to low and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the pork is tender. Skim the surface occasionally to remove any impurities.
- Drain the pork and dry with paper towel then place onto a metal rack over a pan and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Discard the cooking liquid.
- Remove the pork from the fridge and cut into slices about 3cm thick. Rub the salt over the pork, especially on the skin side.
- In a large, heavy based saucepan heat the oil. Carefully place the pork in the pan skin side down and fry until golden and crispy.
- Turn the meat over and fry the other side until it is also golden and crispy.
- Remove the pork from the pan, rest it for a couple of minutes then cut into serving pieces and serve with rice and toyomansi.
Try my lechon kawali recipe and let me know what you think.