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:

Continue Reading

Recipe #46: THAI CHICKEN SATAY with PEANUT SAUCE & CUCUMBER RELISH

Perhaps, one of my biggest regrets while living in Thailand was not being able to blog about my life there. But then again, I also wanted to detach myself from the usual things that I did before I left Manila. I wanted to experience living in another country with a certain level of immersion into a culture that is similar yet so different from my own, away from the familiar crowd and scenes. Besides, that’s one of the many reasons I decided to take refuge in the the land of smiles anyway.

So, yeah, why regret.

Now that I’m back, and while I can still remember snippets of my life in Thailand, I’ll probably share one or two Thai recipes that I really enjoyed (and definitely going to miss) while I was there. Let’s start with one of my favorite street foods — Thai Chicken Satay.

Thai Satay 1

Here’s the thing — satay or sate (pronounced as sa-té) is not originally from Thailand. Its country of origin is in fact Indonesia, historically akin to the Indian kebabs. But because Thailand’s cuisine is more popular than its neighbors, satay became more associated with Thailand.

A photo posted by GJ Coleco (@gjcoleco) on

Thai Pork Satay sold as a street food in Thailand

Aside from Thailand and Indonesia, satay is also a well-known street food in Malaysia and many parts of Southeast Asia. Yes, it can also be found in the Philippines, in the south where it is known as satti.

Just like in any culinary adaptations, ingredients and preparations vary from one region to another. In Thailand, chicken and pork satay are common where it’s served with peanut sauce and cucumber relish. But in Islamic countries, chicken and beef are more preferred, although pork may also be found in non-halal food establishments. 

Try the recipe below and let me know what you think:

Continue Reading

Recipe #38: FILIPINO STYLE STEAK (Bistek Tagalog)

Bistek Tagalog is one of my all-time favorite Filipino dishes. Bistek is a local version of the very western beef steak, hence the name. But the etymology of the word may have come from the Spanish word bistec, which means, well, steak in English.

What makes it distinct from the western version is its mild, citrus-y flavor, which is produced by combining the tang of calamansi and the essence of soy sauce. Also, the Filipino bistek is usually thin in slices, compared to the thick chunks of meat and large servings of the American beef steak.

Beef is the typical meat ingredient, but you can also use slices of pork, such as pork chops and liempo (pork belly). I choose pork over beef because I like the taste better, and I try to avoid red meat as much as possible. My favorite cut is liempo, because it’s easier to cook and the meat is more tender and tastier.

When you prepare bistek, make sure not to overcook the onions to keep them crunchy. The potatoes are optional, but please, include them to your grocery list. Who doesn’t like potatoes, anyway? If beef steaks are great with mashed potato, consider this as our alternative.

Continue reading below to get the recipe:

Continue Reading