Most times on a full and exhausting day like this one we would order out. But for some reason this night all I wanted was Roast Pork. Not the lean western version served with vegies and potatoes or the five-spiced Chinese kind. What I was really craving was a fat laden Filipino Lechon (sleep deprivation being my excuse for such cravings…). At around 6.30 in the evening there is no way I could cook my Easy Roast Pork and still be alive to eat it.
Thankfully, the Filipino’s Lechon range includes one called Lechon Kawali. This is more like thrice cooked deep fried pork belly (can you hear your arteries protesting?). Most Pinoy Lechon Kawali recipes are more “twice” cooked rather than my “thrice” cooked version. The difference? After boiling the meat I bung it in a very hot oven to quickly dry it. Why? To save time and to avoid oil splattering all over my kitchen, that’s why!
Don’t be discouraged by the “thrice cooked” label I added to the name of this dish. It is not as daunting and time consuming as you might think. I was very tired, famished and it was already past 7pm when I decided to cook this. Add to that the meat still hasn’t been defrosted. The whole cooking process probably took an hour (as opposed to my Easy Roast pork which consumes 200% to 300% more time).
Instead of microwave defrosting the meat I put it straight into a pot of boiling water with onions, freshly cracked black pepper, sea salt and a bay leaf. I had to cut the meat in half after several minutes of boiling to hasten the defrosting and infuse more flavour into the meat.
I must say though, I’ve cooked better Lechon kawali than this. But considering all the constraints it still hits the spot!
Anyway, here’s the full recipe:
Lechon Kawali (Thrice Cooked Pork) ala Beancounter
1 piece of pork belly
1 bay leaf
Water for boiling
Lots of oil for deep frying
1. Boil the meat in water together with the spices for about half an hour.
2. Pre-heat the oven to about 200°C.
3. Transfer the meat to a roasting rack and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes to dry it especially the skin. This would prevent oil splattering when you deep fry the meat.
4. Heat up a lot of oil in a deep fryer or a deep pan/pot while waiting for the meat to dry.
5. Place the meat in the hot oil and deep fry. This should take another 15-20 minutes.
6. Serve with gai lan with oyster sauce (for balance) and steaming hot jasmine rice.