Discover the secret to making perfectly crispy and flavorful Lechon Kawali. Follow this step-by-step recipe to achieve a perfect crisp.
Lechon Kawali is a delectable Filipino dish with a succulent and crispy pork belly. It is a popular Filipino dish with a deep-fried pork belly, crispy skin, and tender meat. The name “Lechon” is derived from the Spanish word “lechón,” which means roasted suckling pig, and “Kawali,” referring to the wok or skillet used for frying.
The History of Lechon Kawali
This Filipino favorite can be traced back to traditional Philippine feasts and celebrations, where it was often served as the centerpiece of the dining table. Over the centuries, the dish evolved and adapted to regional tastes, leading to various renditions throughout the country.
The Art of Cooking Lechon Kawali
This requires attention to detail and patience. The process starts with selecting the proper pork belly cut, which should have a perfect balance of meat and fat to achieve the desired texture. The heart is then boiled with aromatic herbs and spices, ensuring every bite is flavorful.
Next comes the frying stage, which can be done by deep-frying. The pork belly is carefully cooked until the skin turns crispy and golden brown.
Lechon Kawali Ingredients
- 3- 4 lbs- a slab of Pork Belly Meat- with pork belly skin still intact, you need a pork belly slab with the rind still intact. Slice the pork belly into cube pieces
- 5-10 cups of cold water- cover pork belly with cold water. Boiling the pork belly will make it soft and makes the skin crispy during deep frying. or just enough water to cover the meat
- 2-3 tablespoons salt or soy sauce
- Two teaspoons of ground pepper
- 4-5 cups of oil
- Bay leaves it to add flavor more flavor to seep through the pork belly.
Cooking Lechon Kawali to Perfection
- Prepare the Pork Belly- place it into a deep pot and cover the pork belly with cold water. Add the seasoning: salt, pepper and bay leaves, and soy sauce, if using. Boil pork belly on medium-high heat and boil until the meat is fork-tender soft. When the heart is done, drain the water and let the meat cool or air-dried. Slice it into a bite-size cube and place it into a Ziploc. You can freeze the rest of the meat for your subsequent use, or if you are cooking it directly, just let it sit in the fridge for half day,or refrigerate overnight.
- Deep frying- when ready to deep fry, slice the pork belly into 2 x 2 pieces and deep fry in hot oil. When you are about to flip the pork belly to the other side, lower the heat. Deep fry the pork belly until golden brown or when it looks crunchy.
- Drain excess oil-You can let the pork belly fried pieces drain in a wire rack or place it in a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
Safety Cooking Measures
Cooking lechon kawali, a Filipino dish consisting of deep-fried pork belly, can be delicious, but it also requires safety measures to ensure a safe cooking process. Here are some safety tips to follow when cooking lechon kawali:
- Use Appropriate Cooking Equipment: When deep-frying, use a sturdy and large pot that can accommodate the oil and pork belly without overflowing. A heavy-bottomed pool with high sides is ideal to prevent splattering and accidents.
- Maintain a Safe Cooking Area: Ensure your cooking area is clean and free of flammable items like paper towels, kitchen towels, or curtains. Keep the cooking area away from children and pets.
- Monitor Oil Temperature: Use a cooking thermometer to check the oil temperature. The ideal frying temperature for lechon kawali is around 350-375°F (175-190°C). Avoid overheating the oil to prevent it from reaching its smoke point.
- Add Pork Belly Carefully: When adding the pork belly to the hot oil, do it slowly and gently to avoid splashing the hot oil. Lower the meat into the oil away from your body to prevent burns.
- Don’t Overcrowd the Pot: Fry the pork belly in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot, which can lead to uneven cooking and excessive splattering.
- Dry the Pork Belly: Before frying, ensure the pork belly is dry to minimize oil splatter. Pat it with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Use Long Tongs: Use long tongs or a slotted spoon to handle the pork belly when flipping or removing it from the hot oil. This will help keep your hands safe from the hot oil.
- Be Prepared for Emergencies: Have a fire extinguisher, baking soda, or a metal lid nearby to smother potential oil fires. Never use water to extinguish an oil fire, as it can cause a dangerous flare-up.
- Dispose of Used Oil Safely: Allow the used cooking oil to cool completely before transferring it to a container. Store the used oil in a sealed container and dispose of it according to local regulations or recycling facilities.
- Properly Cook the Pork Belly: Ensure that the pork belly is cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) to avoid any foodborne illnesses.
How to serve
This meal is traditionally served with a dipping sauce made from vinegar, soy sauce, minced garlic, and chili peppers. This tangy and savory sauce complements the richness of the pork, elevating the overall dining experience.
As a versatile dish, it can be enjoyed with various accompaniments. It pairs exceptionally well with steamed rice, creating a satisfying and comforting meal. For a more contemporary twist, some prefer to serve it with fresh salads or pickled vegetables, refreshingly contrasting the dish.
- Air Fry the Pork Belly– For an even crispier skin, you can air-dry the pork belly in the refrigerator overnight after seasoning it with salt.
- Thermometer -Use a deep-frying thermometer to monitor the oil temperature and ensure it stays around 350°F (175°C) for perfect results.
- Experiment with different marinades and seasonings to create your unique twist on this classic Filipino dish.
In conclusion, Lechon Kawali is an irresistible Filipino delight that deserves a spot at every food enthusiast’s table. With its crispy skin, juicy meat, and harmonious blend of flavors, it has become a culinary treasure representing Filipino cuisine’s heart and soul.
As you follow this guide, we hope it satisfies your curiosity and empowers you to create your own Lechon Kawali masterpiece.
Ultimate Guide to Irresistible Lechon Kawali
- Heavy Bottomed Pot or Medium-sized deep pot
- Wire rack
- Paper towels
- Electric deep fryer or Air Fryer
- 3- 4 lbs Pork Belly Meat
- 5-10 cups of water
- 1/8 cup of water
- 2-3 tablespoons salt or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 4-5 cups of oil
- bay leaves optional
Prepare the Pork Belly
- Put pork belly in a large cooking pot and add water. Add in salt and pepper and bay leaves if using. Boil until the meat is soft. Drain the water and let the meat cool when it is done. You can freeze the rest of the meat for next use, or if you are cooking it directly, just let it sit in the fridge for half day.
Cook the Lechon Kawali to Perfection
- When ready, pat dry the cooked pork belly with paper towels. Slice the pork belly into 2 x 2 pieces. Add the cooking oil to the electric deep fryer or to the pot.
- Heat oil at high temperature and deep fry the pork belly until golden brown or when it looks crunchy. Let the excess oil drain in a paper towel or wire rack.