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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Recipe #49: CRISPY PORK BELLY ROAST

I finally got a new oven! And it’s not just any oven, it’s the Breville Smart Oven!

YAYAY! I’m so excited!

I couldn’t be any happier since I got my hands on this gorgeous gadget. God knows how long I’ve been wanting to buy a new oven as I’ve been itching to learn how to bake. Yes, I’ve baked cookies and pasta before, but I’ve never really taken serious time to explore more intricate baked goodies. This means more exciting recipes ahead, so brace yourselves! 🙂

The Breville Smart Oven is a serious must have if you love baking, but I’ll tell you more about it some time next week. For now, let me share with you this delicious pork dish, which is absolutely one of my favorites in my Asian trips.

My Crispy Pork Belly Roast recipe is actually inspired by a popular Chinese pork belly dish that is usually served in the streets and restaurants all over Asia. I’ve tried so many variations of this dish, which is sometimes served with rice or stir-fried noodles. Many times, pork belly is deep fried to a perfect crisp. But today, we will roast it in the oven.

Crispy Pork Belly Roast

The original Chinese recipe uses five-spice powder, but I replaced it with garlic powder and paprika for some Filipino touch (I personally love the aromatic flavor of five-spice, but some people may not like it).

Hey, use any kind of spice that you like! However, the trick to turning the skin into cracklings is by making sure that it’s free from moisture. Score (or prick) the skin so that the vinegar will be absorbed which will make it ‘pop.’

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Recipe #48: LUMPIANG SHANGHAI (Filipino Pork Spring Rolls)

Among the Filipino foods that are served during birthdays, gatherings, and holidays, there’s nothing more addicting than the tasty, crispy Lumpiang Shanghai. Nope, neither the iconic lechon nor the childhood-favorite fried chicken can beat the allure of the humble pork spring rolls in a buffet popularity contest. Lechon may be the king, but Lumpiang Shanghai is the star.

Why do we love Lumpiang Shanghai so much?

It’s not exactly the easiest dish to prepare, mind you. The mixing part is not that difficult, but it takes a certain level of skill (and courage) to roll and wrap the meat mixture with a lumpia wrapper and to keep them from breaking and unrolling.

Lumpiang Shanghai

But the tedious task does not end there; you also have to carefully heat up a panful of oil, which you will use to deep-fry these glorious rolls while dancing the cha-cha to avoid the scorching hot oil from splattering all over you.

You see, every Lumpiang Shanghai piece was made with love. It may not be as popular as Vietnamese or Chinese spring rolls among the international audience, but for the Filipino palate, it is pure joy.

Lumpiang Shanghai can be served as a main course, a side dish, an appetizer, or as a pulutan (beer food). Learn how to make them by following these steps:

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