Lechon Kawali

Snack, Crackle, Pop. Repeat. I’ve said this before but Filipino food is on the rise, and much like many top chefs have predicted, Filipino food will begin to surprise you. If you have never had Filipino food, just give it a try. Granted, I have yet to find a sweet Filipino dessert that I like (but then again I do not like many desserts as I am not a sweet tooth), but the savory dishes are to die for. This one might be the one to top it off. There are many common, top, Filipino dishes that you might already be aware of such as Pancit, lumpia, or even Kare Kare, but there is one that is top notch, and that is lechon kawali.

Your cardiologist may not like you after this, nor probably your primary physician, but in moderation, this Filipino crispy pork is so simple to make, and makes a perfect party food. Traditionally made with pork belly, you can also try it with pork ribs just make sure you have plenty of fat to render on the second cooking cycle. Yep, there are two cooking steps going on here.

Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe
Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless pork belly, cut into 2 inch long strips
  • 1 head of garlic, skins removed, bulbs smashed
  • 4 whole bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • water
  • salt
  • canola oil
  • dipping sauce
    • White Vinegar, to your liking
    • Soy sauce, to your liking
    • Chopped garlic, to your liking
    • cracked black pepper, to your liking
    • 1 Thai birds eye chili, smashed, optional or Thai chili flakes

I recently made this for my son’s birthday party, as well as another Filipino gathering and both times they rocked the socks off of the party guests. You know you’ve done right when the Filipinos are giving you a thumbs up, a hug, or a high five after eating your food. This is a winner.

Start by adding the pork belly, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, soy sauce, and enough water to cover the pork belly into a large pot or dutch oven. Cover, and bring to a simmer, cooking for about 1 hour. This is to tenderize the pork, and infuse all of the great flavor from those aromatics.

Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe Ingredients
Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe Ingredients

After 1 hour or so, get a baking sheet out and line it with a wire rack.

Take the strips of pork belly and lay them on the rack, making sure any of the excess liquid goes back into the pot. Once the strips are laid out, lightly salt them with kosher salt. This will assist with the dehydration process and get them ready for the next step the following day, if not hours later in the day.

Place the baking sheet, uncovered in the refrigerator. I do this over night.

Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe
Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe

When you are ready to go with the next step, take the pork out of the refrigerator and cut them into bite sized cubes, about 1-2 inches in size. Go larger if you prefer.

Heat a pot of oil, about 2-3 cups of canola oil, in a medium sized pot, and bring this to about 350-375 degrees.

In batches, fry the pork. This should take about 5-7 minutes per batch. Once golden and the fat is rendered and crispy, remove with a slotted spoon or kitchen spyder and place onto a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil. Let the oil in the pot come back to temp, then repeat until the lechon kawali is cooked.

NOTE: If you are frying these bad boys, make sure you reserve some for yourself because if you turn your back, trust me, these babies will be gone. This happened to me when I brought them to a party for our friend Miguel to chop up and fry. I didn’t even get a single piece! No worries on that part however, as I know that when I am snacking with the family, that I am sure to get a few pieces.

And that dipping sauce? Go for it. The combination of garlic, vinegar, soy, and chili. That’s a whole other level when it comes to dipping sauce.

If you are looking for a great party appetizer, and don’t mind frying with a bit of oil, this one is sure to please and is a real crowd pleaser not only for those wanting to try some Filipino flavors, but for those who love great, easy food. Hope you enjoy!

Filipino Imbaliktad

Recently the big kid turned 17. Seventee already, and yes he towers me. He’s a big high schooler, let’s just put it that way. So when questioning him what he would like to do for his special day, he just said ‘Let’s just get together here and have a barbecue’. I’m not sure if my wife and I finally rubbed off on him, but we did offer up other options, but his choice was a simple one. A small get together. So that’s where it started, but when asked what he would like to eat for his birthday, he initially said burgers and brats (a typical grilling fair), and that’s when I offered up Filipino food. I’m big into Filipino food, especially over the course of the last few years, and that is primarily due to the family members that surround me. My wife’s father is Filipino, as is her cousins, etc. So every chance I get, I’m going to try a new dish.

These dishes are not necessarily new, but they are packed with great flavor and super easy to make, in particular this recipe known as Imbaliktad.

Filipino Imbaliktad Recipe
Filipino Imbaliktad Recipe

This recipe is essentially a super quick stir fry, and almost reminds me of an American sukiyaki,  but with lots more flavor and a lot less time to cook.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of lean beef, cut into thin strips, room temperature
  • pork shanks, cooked and removed from bone (optional)
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 whole onion, coursely sliced
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, lightly smashed
  • 2 tbsp distilled vinegar
  • 3 Thai chilies, or serranos, lightly smashed
  • 3 sprigs of green onions, coursely sliced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • salt, to taste
  • Rice, cooked, optional
  • Cold beer, optional

Mix the sugar with the beef, and set it to the side to come up to room temperature.

Next, heat a large skillet, or wok on medium-high heat. Let this heat up for a couple of minutes before adding the oil. This recipe goes quick it is a perfect throw together stir fry.

OK, now add in the oil, then toss in the ginger, and garlic. Stir fry this for about 30 seconds, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add in the beef, turn up the heat to high, toss that beef around, and then let it sit and caramelize. Add in the black peppercorns, chili peppers, and give that a good toss. Cook for a minute or so, then add in the onion. I like my onions with a bit of crunch here, but if you want them softened, go for it just cook them a bit longer. Try to not overcook the beef as you want it tender. If you are using the cooked pork shanks, which I pressured cooked earlier in the day for some extra richness, remove whatever meat you can from the bone, and add to the stir fry at this time.

Filipino Imbaliktad Ingredients
Filipino Imbaliktad Ingredients

Now add in the vinegar, give another toss, season with some salt to your liking, then plate and shower with the green onions.

Dig in. Serve with a side of rice, a cold beer, and you are set to go. The only question you will probably ask yourself is why you were not cooking this any sooner, and why you did not make more of it. I mean it’s beef loaded with garlic, ginger, vinegar and some heat from the chilies. Everything I love in some of the Filipino recipes. Enjoy!

Filipino Adobo Sandwich

Do you remember that awesome Filipino pork rib adobo recipe I posted not too long ago? Yeah, it was awesome to say the least, and again that great introduction to an authentic Filipino dish. I’m surprised I had any left over to be quite honest with you. But with that being said, I decided to use that leftover Filipino adobo and make a killer sandwich out of it. This sandwich was heavenly.

Filipino Pork Adobo Sandwich Recipe
Filipino Pork Adobo Sandwich Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the pork adobo:

  • 6 lbs of pork ribs, silver skin removed, cut into 2 rib portions
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 whole bay leaves
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • garlic fried rice, optional (but you know you want it)

Ingredients for the sandwich:

  • Soft buns, lightly toasted on top and bottom
  • shredded pork adobo, warmed
  • Pickled red onions
  • Thinly sliced Thai bird chilies, optional

Start by adding all of those pork ribs to a large sealable bag or bowl. Next, take the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, onion, bay leaves, and salt, and mix that into a bowl.

Pour this mixture into the sealable bag, and let this marinate 24 hours, preferably, but you can probably get away with 4 hours. Your call.

At some point in time, massage that marinade into the ribs.

When you are ready to cook, add the ribs and marinade into a dutch oven, or something that can hold all of those ribs, and cook on the stove on low heat for about 4 hours.

Filipino Pork Adobo Sandwich Recipe
Filipino Pork Adobo Sandwich Recipe

The ribs should be close to fall apart tender. Once you hit that stage, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Place however many ribs you want onto a baking sheet, and into the heated oven, and cook for about 10 minutes or until you get an nice crisp on the outside.

Take some of the cooked marinade and cook on medium-high heat on the stove. Bring to a boil, then add to a fat strainer if you have one. The ribs do give off a bunch of fat so you will want to remove as much as possible. Keep in mind you can make this a day ahead, store the ribs separately from the cooked marinade, then on the next day, when the fat has solidified from being in the refrigerator, scoop off and discard, keeping just the non-fat marinade.

Once the ribs have gotten nice and crisp on the outside, remove and pour over that cooked marinade.

To build your sandwich, take a mound of shredded pork adobo and place it onto the bun. Lay over some pickled red onions, and a bit of Thai chilies (optional), and top with the remaining bun. Grab this baby with both hands, lightly press down, and go to town.

You get the awesome Filipino adobo, but then you get this awesome surprise from the pickled red onion and spice from the Thai chilies that really make this sandwich shine. Hope you enjoy!

Pork Ribs Adobo

I have a really great feeling about Filipino food trending this year. As my father-in-law, as well as plenty of extended family are Filipino, I have been blessed to hear stories of their great cuisine, or been around it to try it. I’ve tried enough of the main staples, and have posted them on this site, and hands down (besides lumpia and pancit) on of my favorite dishes is Filipino adobo. Whether that adobo be chicken or pork, it does not really matter. There is something about the aroma, the simplicity, and when eaten with a bit of rice, well, you have yourself a really awesome meal.

My wife will always tell stories about her road trips when growing up as a kid, and her dad busting out a pan of adobo when traveling across country, and that aroma perfuming the car. I’m not too certain if she was a fan of that aroma at that age, but it is one she loves, and my entire family has loved since I’ve been making it. This is pork ribs adobo. It has the bone, plenty of fall apart pork off of that bone, and one that is truly freaking delicious.

Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Recipe
Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 6 lbs of pork ribs, silver skin removed, cut into 2 rib portions
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 whole bay leaves
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • garlic fried rice, optional (but you know you want it)

Start by adding all of those pork ribs to a large sealable bag or bowl. Next, take the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, onion, bay leaves, and salt, and mix that into a bowl.

Pour this mixture into the sealable bag, and let this marinate 24 hours, preferably, but you can probably get away with 4 hours. Your call.

Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Ingredients
Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Ingredients

At some point in time, massage that marinade into the ribs.

When you are ready to cook, add the ribs and marinade into a dutch oven, or something that can hold all of those ribs, and cook on the stove on low heat for about 4 hours.

The ribs should be close to fall apart tender. Once you hit that stage, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Place however many ribs you want onto a baking sheet, and into the heated oven, and cook for about 10 minutes or until you get an nice crisp on the outside.

Take some of the cooked marinade and cook on medium-high heat on the stove. Bring to a boil, then add to a fat strainer if you have one. The ribs do give off a bunch of fat so you will want to remove as much as possible. Keep in mind you can make this a day ahead, store the ribs separately from the cooked marinade, then on the next day, when the fat has solidified from being in the refrigerator, scoop off and discard, keeping just the non-fat marinade.

Once the ribs have gotten nice and crisp on the outside, remove and pour over that cooked marinade.

Plate and serve. You not only get fall apart pork, but the aroma is to die for. It’s that vinegar, mixed with the garlic that just perfumes that pork that it is super hard not to love. So much that I heard my boys moaning a bit, and my wife and daughter who just kept their heads down not saying a word but just scooping forks and spoons of this stuff into their mouths. Yep, it’s that good.

Get your Filipino food on this year. Trust me, it’s hard not to love. Hope you enjoy!