Roasting a whole suckling pig, lechón, is a huge feat and I’m not even going to try. A simpler variation can be easily done at home. Lechón kawali is pork belly deep fried in a kawali, which is Filipino for a wok or a deep frying pan. It is typically served with vinegar or soy sauce with a sprinkle of calamansi. To make them real tender and juicy, slow-cook the pork belly slab in water, deep fry and then cut them in strips.
Lechón Kawali Recipe
Recipe from Kulinarya: a Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb pork belly slab
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
Enough water to cover the pork
8 cups peanut or canola oil for deep-frying
The pork belly slab should have an even distribution of meat and fat. Preferably, it should not be thicker than 1-1/2 inches.
Place the pork belly, crushed garlic, bay leaf and sea salt in a pot and fill with water until the pork is completely covered. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Continue to cook for about one hour or until the pork is fork-tender.
Drain the pork. The stock can be saved for future use. Place the pork in a baking tray and let it dry out inside the oven set at 200 degrees F for about one hour. Let it stand to cool.
Heat the canola oil in a wok or a pan. Use enough oil to completely cover the pork slab. Deep-fry the pork with the skin down. Turn the heat to low and fry slowly for 20 to 30 minutes on each side.
For more moist meat, fry the whole slab over high heat for an additional 5 to 10 minutes with the skin side down just before serving. Fish out with a strainer and place on a platter lined with paper towels. Cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes.
For crunchier meat, cut the pork slab into 1- to 2-inch cubes and then deep-fry for an additional 5 to 10 minutes over high heat. Fish out with a strainer and place on a platter lined with paper towels.
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