Lechon is cooked with different kinds of techniques and one of it is Lechon Kawali. As everyone knows, Lechon is a Filipino dish loved by many. It is aso one of the national dishes that the Philippines can be surely proud of. Lechon is usually cooked with the whole pork on a spit over flaming charcoal. Cooking Lechon takes time to finish perfectly since it use roasting but Filipinos have developed a new technique for this dish to make the cooking method faster and that is how Lechon Kawali comes in the picture. This dish is fried rather than grilled. Oftentimes the dish is cooked for family gatherings and/or being cooked in bulk for restaurants to serve. Preparing the dish in bulk is a good way to save time, as there is a two-step process in cooking it.

Ingredients for Lechon Kawali

In order to make a good Lechon Kawali; the key ingredient – pork belly can be cut into small pieces, or into thin cuts (about 1 ½ inch) so that it will be crispier when fried. Always remember that it is better to have a pork belly slap with it’s skin on (sometimes some stores sell pork slab with the skin removed) because the pork skin gives off the crispy and crunchy feeling people look for when they are eating lechon kawali. Other than our pork belly, we also need the following ingredients to add flavor – garlic cloves, bay leaves, salt, ground pepper (or peppercorns), water (to boil our pork belly), and cooking oil.

Cooking the Lechon Kawali

For you to cook a 2-3 serving of Lechon Kawali, you would need an approximate of 1 ½ pound of pork belly (about 700 grams).
Prepare:
– 1 clove of garlic
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 tbsp. salt
– 1 tbsp. pepper

First step is to combine all the condiments in a skillet pan along with the pork belly, and pour enough water to cover. Some recipes include soy sauce to add flavor to the Lechon Kawali, but it depends on your personal taste if you choose to add so or not. Others choose not to put extra condiments and only adds salt for taste. Next, bring the pork to a boil and simmer until the skin is slicing tender but not falling apart. This would usually take up 35 to 45 minutes to simmer. It is important for you to monitor the tenderness of the meat so that it does not get too soft for us to deeply fry it without worrying that it might start falling apart.

Once the pork is tender, drain the meat and let it sit at room temperature until it has been air dried. Some people who prepare to cook Lechon Kawali beforehand an event or celebration might have the extra time to chill the pork and let it air dry in the refrigerator obvernight. This does not always apply to everyone since it will depend on the preference and the time frame you have before cooking the dish.

Important Note: Chilling and air drying the meat overnight in a refrigirator has proven to give a cripsier texture when the pork slab is dried.

Even if you don’t have the time to chill it on a refrigerator, it will still show a good crispy result if it is air dried in room temperature.

When the meat has been air dried (either in room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight), it is now ready to be deep fried. Pre-heat a large sauce pan and add cooking oil for deep frying, make sure to use enough oil to cover the whole slab of pork belly. The oil should be around 350 °F to 375 °F before frying the meat. It might also be useful to have a splatter guard to avoid burns and to help with the whole process. Deep fry the pork belly into batches and look out for it until it is golden brown. The deep-frying process will take approximately 3-5 minutes. Once the pork belly is cooked, remove it and drain it on a wire rack to remove the excess oil. Let the pork belly rest for around 5 minutes for it to cool down, then cut it into pieces if needed.

That is basically all there it to make the perfect Lechon Kawali. We have an easy recipe that produces a mouth-watering dish fit for all ages. The perfect crunchy exterior paired with the juicy and tender meat inside. It is best to eat it while still warm and paired with Lechon sauce or vinegar-based sauce, whichever suits your taste buds. Although some people choose not to deep fry the pork belly and instead, they pan fry it twice to add crispiness.

Lechon Kawali: Loved by many

A lot of Filipinos eat Lechon Kawali as “pulutan” or a snack you can eat when having a drink out with friends. Every sinful bite would be too good to resist and it is the best type of home-cooked comfort food for every occasion. It is also a dish liked by other cultures because other than the simplicity it has, it offers a flavourful taste that is really to-die-for. The fact that Lechon Kawali can be easily paired with a lot of other dishes is a plus as well. One can never go wrong with a well-cooked fried dish. As for the health conscious, it is best to make sure that the oil is drained on a rack with a baking sheet below. Doing this is a better method than draining the oil with a paper towel because paper towels make the dish soggier. When one drains the oil on a rack, the air is allowed to flow through which air dries the
Lechon Kawali without losing its crisp.

Conclusion

You will find Lechon Kawali also being served in a lot of traditional Filipino restaurants just a lechon is. The dish is best eaten with a warm cup of rice or alongside with other traditional Filipino dishes with soup like “Sinigang”. Because of its simplicity it can also be a good pair to various types of food like stir-fried vegetables or even noodles. Although Lechon Kawali is not the healthiest food and should be consumed in moderation like the traditional lechon, the taste is undeniably worth every bite. That said, it is also better to serve this dish when eating with other people. The rich taste it has would want you to ask for more, and without friends or family to eat with, you might just get a tad bit more than you should be eating. We won’t judge, because it is one of our most favourite dishes to cook and serve as well. As “foodies”, a food that can be prepared fast only requires a few ingredients and an automatic approval. So just live, love and eat!

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