Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Apology and a New Recipe (Lechon Kawali)

My apologies for not being able to update my blog for several months. I underwent surgery for a work-related injury and the subsequent therapies (which I am still undergoing) and doctor's appointments kept me away from the kitchen for a while. The surgery also took me off school for several months which I am not too thrilled about since it means that graduation will have to wait a bit longer. Nevertheless, I am at a point where I am able to some of the things I used to do with some limitations as the surgical site is still tender and painful but it is getting better and better with each passing day. As my first entry after my long hiatus, I am posting a recipe for lechon kawali. This dish may not be for faint of heart and the fatty nature of the dish may make the cardiologists cringe in horror but I assure you that it is very tasty and delicious. Lechon sauce (or catsup, if you prefer) and a steaming hot bowl of rice are all you need with this dish.
Lechon is a very well-known Filipino dish. It is usually a whole hog that is skewered in a whole bamboo and roasted in an open charcoal pit for several hours until the skin turns golden and crispy. It is a staple in almost every Filipino gathering. Crispy skin with the moist and tender meat makes this dish very tasty. I have previously posted a recipe for a variation of this dish known as Lechon sa Horno or oven-roasted pork. Lechon kawali, on the other hand, is cooked differently although the taste is similar to that of the traditional lechon. Instead of roasting the pork belly in the oven, it is boiled until tender then fried until the outer surface is brown and crispy. Although the outer surface is crispy, the insides are moist, tender and juicy. This is due to the fact that the meat is first boiled before frying. Like the original lechon, lechon kawali is best enjoyed with lechon sauce (or catsup) on the side and steamed rice.
Recipe: 2 lb slab of pork belly with ribs(available at most Filipino stores) salt to taste 1 tsp whole pepper corns 3-4 dried bay leaves water cooking oil lechon sauce (scroll down for recipe here) 1. Rinse pork belly and place in a large pot. 2. Add salt(according to your taste), whole pepper corns and bay leaves. 3. Add enough water to cover the pork and turn the heat to medium or medium high 4. Boil until tender then remove from heat and drain liquids. 5. You can blot the pork with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Cool and refrigerate overnight. (If you wish, you can skip refrigeration and just fry directly) 6. Heat a couple of inches of cooking oil in a pot large enough to hold the pork belly. 7. When oil is hot, add the whole pork belly and fry until golden brown. You may turn the pork belly over to fry and brown the other side. Cook until skin is crispy. WARNING: Oil is extremely hot and oil can splatter while you're frying so be very careful not to burn yourself. Use heavy lids or splatter guard. 8. Remove from heat and let it cool down a little bit before chopping into serving pieces. Serve with lechon sauce or catsup.


  1. Mmmm, that looks good. How long does it need to be boiled to get it tender?

  2. Hi Dan. I boiled it for about an hour but depending on the pork, it may take a longer or lesser time to get it tender.