Lechon Kawali

Lechon for those who does not know is a roasted pork dish found in former Spanish colonial countries like Philippines and other Latin American Counties. The term lechon came from the word “leche” which means milk, now how is milk related to lechon? Traditionally they roast suckling pigs which are very young pigs still breastfeeding from mother pigs hence milk, but nowadays they also use a full mature pig so it can feed more people as this is usually served during special occasions such as wedding and fiestas. To prepare this one is a bit of a chore as you need to have a lot of charcoal and patience rolling the pig manually over a very hot spit, I remember when I used to go to provinces in Philippines people take turns in rolling the pig for hours until the skin turn golden crispy brown. But with today’s technology there are a lot of automated devices to do this task.

For this dish we will not roast a whole pig as I don’t have enough family members here to serve it to, neighbours might complain about the smoke, and it’s a very tiresome process, that’s why the Filipinos have invented an easier way of making this dish by just using “kawali” or wok / pan. The effect will be nearly the same where the meat is tender and juicy on the inside and the skin will be crisp, the only difference is the absence of the smoky flavour and the skin is rough in texture compared to the smooth texture of the lechon. This dish is I guess closely related to the famous Chinese Crispy Skin Roast pork and the only difference I guess is the dipping sauce where lechon uses a type of sweet liver gravy. The liver gravy may sound gross but this is really good, you won’t even notice that it is made out of liver, I haven’t made my own version as there is an available sauce that you can easily buy commercially at Asian shops.

Another unhealthy yet addictive dish so take this in moderation.

Lechon Kawali
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 kg pork belly, (1 big piece, do not slice)
  • 1 whole garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 4 pcs bay leaves
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 can lemonade soda (7-Up or Sprite)
  • sea salt
  • water
  • oil for deep frying
  • Mang Tomas All-Purpose sauce
Instructions
  1. Rub sea salt generously on pork belly then cover it tightly with a cling wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least a day.
  2. Rinse pork in running water making sure all salt has been cleared from the meat.
  3. Place pork in a pressure cooker together with the soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns, laurel leaves and lemonade soda. Now pour enough water just to cover the entire meat.
  4. Pressure cook for 20 to 30 minutes (Depending on the thickness of pork belly), your timing should start when the whistle starts to make sound.
  5. Once the pork is tender remove it from the pressure cooker and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  6. Now once the surface of the pork is dried place it in a covered container and refrigerate it for at least 12 hours or until it is cold.
  7. Prepare a wok filled with oil and heat it up, once hot place the pork carefully while cold into the hot oil, skin side down, be really careful as it will splatter.
  8. Deep fry the pork until golden brown, this won’t take really long and remember you just want to make the outside crisp; the inner part is already cooked.
  9. Once cooked, slice into thin pieces and serve with the lechon sauce.

 

No Responses

  1. shobelyn says:

    This look really delicious. We just ate Lechon Kawali the other day. You are right, oil splatter everywhere when you deep fry it, so a friend of mind suggested that I baked it. I had been baking my lechon kawali since then. It save me from burned arm and burned neck. I have not used cooked pressure cooker by myself. My mom used pressure cooker and she did not show me. Is it easy to use?

    • Raymund says:

      Hi shobelyn yes it is easy to use its just sound dangerous specially when it starts whistling. Using pressure cooker will save you a lot of time in making meats tender.

    • jaredskeet says:

      I am from the Philippines, in our household, while deep frying lechon kawali, we spray it with water periodically to minimize oil splatter and at the same time makes it more crispy.

  2. This is a beautiful dish! Thank you for the history lesson in how it was prepared traditionally. I would love to cook one like that someday.

  3. Amanda says:

    Wow great recipe. They do serve lechon in my husband’s home country of Colombia. It took me to a while to figure out why it wasn’t a milkshake or a pastry. I figured it had to have milk in it. Lechon….pig. I learned the hard way. What an awesome recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Pork belly!!! Looks so easy to make, and I just saw another recipe using 7-up (to make biscuits). I never used 7 up before (coke, yes). How fun. I’d love to make this!

  5. deltaboy2 says:

    30-45 min in a pressure cooker seems too long? I did some pigs feet in a pressure cooker for 30 min and they were falling apart.

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