Recipe #53: CRISPY KANGKONG

Crispy Kangkong

When your family eats Sinigang almost every week, chances are, there’s always an abundant supply of kangkong lying around in your fridge’s vegetable compartment. Kangkong (or water spinach) is uber cheap and it’s available all year round. A bundle of kangkong costs about P15 (US$.30) at the grocery and, perhaps, even cheaper at the public market.

Aside from Sinigang, kangkong can also be cooked as adobo, topped with some crispy garlic and savory dark sauce, which can be a fantastic side dish to your fried or grilled seafood, chicken, or pork. But today, we’re making Crispy Kangkong.

Crispy Kangkong is also a tasty appetizer, typically served in restaurants (which may sometimes cost a little more than it should be). But now, you can simply make them at home. The kangkong leaves are coated in spiced batter before frying them in hot oil. Drain the excess oil on a paper towel and that’s it, ready to be served. Easy-peasy!

Check out the complete recipe below:

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Recipe #52: LECHONG KAWALI

Lechong Kawali

There was a classic jest at home when I was younger whenever we asked our lola what’s for dinner—she would respond that we’re having lechong kawali, then she would hand me the kawali (lechong kawali literally means roasted wok).

Of course, lechong kawali is neither a lechon (roast) nor a kawali (wok). It is what you make at home when you’re craving for a lechon, but don’t have the time or the luxury to buy or roast an entire pig. Lechon is usually only served during special occasions.

Filipinos created lechong kawali (perhaps with Chinese influence) as an attempt to ‘imitate’ the succulence of a lechon without all the fuss. Although this simple pork belly dish is not roasted, it is cooked twice: by boiling and deep frying. Some recipes require a second deep fry to achieve that crispy pork skin. Traditionally, the pork belly is cooked in a kawali hence the name, but any deep pan can be used.

Lechong kawali is quite similar to many Asian dishes such as the Chinese Siu Yuk and the Thai Moo Grob. Personally, nothing beats our local version when it comes to flavor.

Check out the recipe below:

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Lola’s Kitchen Tips: HOW TO SELECT THE FRESHEST PRODUCE (feat. PANASONIC’S AG CLEAN)

How to select fresh produce

You’re reading my blog right now probably because we share a common interest—we both love Filipino food. But our passion for the local cuisine should not start in the kitchen; it begins at the market. Knowing how to check the freshness of the foods and ingredients that you buy is just as important as cooking and food preparation.

Whether you shop at your neighborhood palengke or a posh supermarket, picking the freshest produce is a skill that one learns from experience. The freshness of the food that you buy will definitely affect the outcome of the food or dish that you prepare.

How to select fresh produce

I personally love grocery shopping and going to the market. There’s something about it that I find therapeutic. But I also understand that not everyone likes doing this chore, so I’ll make it easier for you with some of my tips on how to pick the best and the freshest produce. But first, here are my rules of thumb:

  • Support your local public or farmers’ market.
  • Use your senses of touch, smell, sight, and hearing. Taste if possible.
  • Preferably, shop in the morning. The early bird catches the worm!
  • Buy produce in season for the best price and taste.
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