Lechon Kawali is a very popular dish in the Philippines, because let’s admit it, the Filipinos love everything that is pork. We love it so much that we try to utilize every part of the pig and make it into something creatively delicious.
Despite having a longer average time of preparing this dish you can commonly see it almost everywhere, ranging from carinderias, to school canteens, and to restaurants which serve Filipino dishes.
In this article, you don’t have to go out of the comfort of your household just to satisfy your craving for the Lechon Kawali.
Try your experience with this crispy and delicious pork even more special by cooking one yourself! You will certainly say that it is more delicious because you’re in control of what you’re cooking and your friends and family will definitely be surprised by it.
Read on below for more trivia and some tips about the all-time favorite Lechon Kawali.
What is Lechon Kawali?
Lechon Kawali is a dish that uses pork meat made into a delicious crispy goodness by deep frying the pork in oil. It has the Tagalog term kawali which literally translates to “pan” or a “wok”–pertaining to the deep frying of the pork.
It is not to be confused with the Lechon–which is a completely different style of dish that’s made out of a whole roasted pig. The dish was invented and modified throughout the years, starting from the influence of the Spanish, with their Lechon.
How to Cook Lechon Kawali?
Cooking the Lechon Kawali seems to be a gruelling task if you look at it at first, but the key to mentally prepare yourself for the task is to divide it into two simple processes.
The first one you need to think about is boiling the pork belly. And then the second one you need to think about is to deep fry the pork belly. Remember that our goal is to have as delicious and crispy as possible lechon kawali.
When boiling the pork belly, keep in mind that we’re not doing it so we can eat it after. The goal is to make the pork belly tender–but not to the point where it’s so tender that it is falling off–and to maximize the flavors of the pork meat. So keep an eye on it while boiling.
Deep frying the pork belly is what makes this dish super crispy. If you followed the recipe wherein you let it chill overnight, be prepared and have a cover ready because the oil will splatter all over once you put the pork in the hot oil. This is a normal reaction of the chilled pork when suddenly transferred into hot temperatures.
Pork Cuts for the Best Lechon Kawali
The best cut and the most commonly preferred when making the Lechon Kawali, is the pork belly. The combination of the meat and fat along with the skin is what makes it extra crispy and tasty.
So when picking pork belly, choose the ones with the most fats and most meat because we want the pork to be as delicious as possible.
Lechon Kawali Tips:
- It is not required, but it is a necessary step to let the pork belly cool overnight after you boil it. This will result in a crispier pork belly, and of course, we want to have the crispiness in every bite of the lechon kawali. This is actually a similar method on how to cook Crispy Pata.
- If you want to, you can cut the pieces before deep frying. This can make the cooking time faster and you’re sure that the insides are evenly cooked. Just cut them as how you would when you’re about to serve it.
- Make sure that you have enough oil to completely submerge the pork belly, so feel free to add more if you feel like it’s lacking in oil. But if that’s not possible, be sure to turn the pork belly to cook every side of it evenly.
For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:
Lechon Kawali Recipe
- Deep Frying Pan
- 1 kg pork belly
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp peppercorn
- 3 pcs bay leaves (laurel leaves)
- salt, for seasoning, to taste
- 5 cups water, for boiling
- 4 cups cooking oil, for frying
- In a large cooking pot, pour-in water and bring to a boil in medium heat.
- Add-in the pork belly, crushed garlic, salt, peppercorn, and bay leaves. Simmer for 50 to 80 minutes or until tender but still intact.
- Drain the liquid from the pot, leaving the pork belly. Then transfer to a rack and allow to dry. You can use paper towels to dry the pork belly faster.
- Store the pork belly in the refrigerator. Let it cool for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- Season the pork belly with salt all over.
- In a large cooking pot, pour-in and heat the oil in medium to high heat.
- Add-in the pork belly. Cover the pot until splatter subsides a little. Deep-fry while sprinkling the pork belly with ice-cold water from time to time (to let it crackle) for 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy.
- Transfer the pork belly onto a rack. Dry with paper towels.
- Transfer into a serving plate or serving tray and cut into 2-inch pieces. Serve and enjoy!
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