Lechon Kawali (lechon translates to roast pork while kawali means a deep frying pan) is a classic Filipino dish that uses a whole slab of pork belly, boiled then deep-fried until skin is crunchy, almost like pork rind cracklings. This traditional cooking method requires a lot of oil. Pork belly is fatty as it is so frying it makes it extra sinful, which makes it more delicious (haha). Another method is cooking the meat in an oven or turbo broiler to keep things “healthier.” In this recipe, I used the turbo broiler because it’s a more common kitchen appliance in the Philippines. The skin turned out perfect—crunchy. Make sure not to overcook it, however, because the meat will turn out dry.
1,250 grams (2.75 lbs.) whole pork belly
1 tbsp. salt
1 red onion, diced
1 pc. red chili
¼ cup water
3 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
1. Put pork belly in a pot of water. The water should cover the meat entirely. Add in salt and wait until it boils. Simmer meat for 40 minutes. While waiting for this, prepare a wire rack preferably resting on a pan.
2. Turn off heat then remove meat from the water. Put on rack, the pan beneath will catch any drippings to lessen mess. Let cool and sit on the rack for an hour. This is an important part of the procedure because air cooling helps make a crunchy skin. Preheat turbo broiler at 200°C, 5 minutes before actual broiling.
3. Put in meat skin down and cook for 30 minutes. After, turn the meat skin up and turn up temperature to 250°C. Cook for another 10 minutes or until skin is crunchy. The skin will turn red and cracklings will form. When done, remove from broiler and let rest for 10 minutes before chopping.
4. For the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients together, mix until sugar melts. Serve alongside pork.
5. Serve with rice and enjoy!