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! ūüôā

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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Recipe #47: CHOP SUEY

Is chop suey Chinese? American? Nobody seems to know the answer.

Based on the name alone, chop suey (literally means assorted pieces) is most likely of Chinese origin or created by Chinese-American immigrants. Bits and pieces of leftover meat and vegetables are mixed together and stir-fried to avoid wastage, accidentally creating an iconic and versatile Asian dish.

Not to cause confusion, the American chop suey¬†is not the same as the Asian¬†chop suey — not even closely similar. The former is an American pasta dish¬†which is influenced by Italian-American flavor. The name, however, was borrowed from China because it is sometimes prepared using¬†a¬†hodgepodge of meat and vegetables.

Asian countries, such as Thailand and India, have their own versions of chop suey. Some are sweet, some are spicy. In Indonesia, it’s called can cai which is quite similar to the Filipino version.¬†The Filipino chop suey itself has so many ways to prepare. My lola’s version, called vianda (probably has a¬†Spanish influence), contains chorizo de bilbao¬†or Chinese chorizo which adds a lovely aromatic sweetness into the sauce.

Chop Suey Recipe

Chop Suey can be served as a main or as a side to your meat dishes. In Filipino fiestas and other special occasions, chop suey is served to add variety in a usually meat-centric buffet table. Enjoy it with steamed rice, or stir-fry it with your favorite noodles, such as canton or bihon, to make a beautifully delicious chow mein or pancit.

In this recipe, I’m using chicken meat, but you can also use thinly sliced pork, beef, or¬†seafood. Shrimp is highly preferred. Some recipes may also call for tripes or chicken liver. Hard-boiled quail eggs are¬†kids’¬†favorite. Go¬†vegan by removing the meat or by replacing it with tofu or¬†mushroom, minus¬†the oyster sauce.

Aside from the ones listed below, there are other kinds of vegetables that you may or may not add, such as bell pepper, bean sprouts, patola (luffa), upo (bottle gourd), and green beans. The choice of vegetables is all up to you.

Ready? Warm up your wok and grab the recipe below:

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