- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup (177 ml) vinegar
- 3 cups (709 ml) water
- ¾ cup (150 g) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (17 g) salt
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) pepper
- 1 9-ounce (280 g) can liver spread
- ⅔ cup (84 g) breadcrumbs
- 2 pounds (907 g) boneless skin-on pork belly, cut in half
- 8 medium cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon (10 g) black peppercorns
- Kosher salt
- Canola or peanut oil, for frying
Making the Sauce
- Heat the oil in a saucepan.In a small saucepan, add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of neutral cooking oil. Turn the burner to medium-high, and allow the oil to heat until it becomes hot, which should take approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
- Canola and vegetable oil are good options for the recipe. However, if you want to add more flavor to your sauce, you can substitute bacon fat for the oil.
- Cook the onion and garlic until they become soft.Once the oil is hot, add 1 small onion that’s been finely chopped and 3 cloves of minced garlic to the pan. Cook the onion and garlic until they are soft and limp, which should take 1 to 3 minutes.
- You can also tell that the onion and garlic are ready when they start to give off a strong aroma.
- Add the liver pate and cook for several minutes.When the onion and garlic are soft, mix a 9-ounce can of liver pate into the pan. Stir well to ensure that it’s fully incorporated, and allow it to cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
- If you don’t want to buy liver spread, you can cook your own chicken or pork liver, and create a paste by processing it in a food processor.
- Mix in the vinegar and brown sugar, and cook until the sugar dissolves.When the liver has cooked with the onion and garlic for several minutes, add ¾ cup (177 ml) of vinegar and ¾ cup (150 g) of brown sugar to the pan. Stir the mixture and cook until the sugar dissolves, which should take approximately 2 to 5 minutes.
- You can use white or apple cider vinegar in the sauce.
- Stir in the water, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil.Once the sugar has dissolved, mix 3 cups (709 ml) of water, 1 tablespoon (17 g) of salt, and ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) of pepper into the pan. Leave the pan uncovered, and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, which should take 3 to 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs into the pan, and cook until the sauce thickens.After the pan comes to a boil, add ⅔ cup (84 g) of breadcrumbs to the mixture. Allow the mixture to cook for 2 minutes, or until it thickens up.
- Use plain, unseasoned breadcrumbs for the recipe. Seasoned breadcrumbs will change the flavor of the sauce.
- Take the pan off the heat, and allow to cool.When the sauce has thickened, turn off the burner and remove the pan from the heat. Set aside and allow it to cool until the pork belly is finished cooking.
- If the sauce isn’t as smooth as you’d like, you can process it in a blender after it’s cooled.
Preparing the Pork Belly
- Set the pork belly in a pot and add water.Take a 2 pound (907 g) whole boneless, skin on pork belly that’s been cut in half, and place it in a large pot with the skin side facing down. Add enough water to the pot to completely cover the pork belly.
- Mix in the garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and bring to a boil.After you’ve submerged the pork belly, add 8 medium cloves garlic that have been smashed or pounded flat, 2 bay leaves, and 1 tablespoon (10 g) of black peppercorns to the water. Turn the heat to medium-high, and bring the pot to a boil.
- You can also mix a medium onion that’s been chopped into the water for extra flavor.
- Reduce the heat, and simmer the mixture for an hour.Once the pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to simmer until you can push a knife through the pork belly skin without any resistance, which should take approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours.
- After the pork belly comes to a boil, a film may form on the top of the water. Use a spoon to skim it away before simmering the mixture.
- Place the pork belly on a rack, salt, and refrigerate.After the pork belly has cooked for an hour or so, allow it cool until you can handle it. Transfer it to a wire rack that’s been fitted over a rimmed baking sheet. Season the pork liberally with Kosher salt, making sure to cover both sides. Place the pork belly in the refrigerator for 6 hours to overnight, or until the skin is completely dried.
- Wipe the pork belly dry before seasoning it with the salt.
Finishing the Dish
- Cut the pork belly into slices.After the pork belly has dried, remove it from the refrigerator. Use a sharp knife to cut it into ¾-inch (1.9-cm) slices. Place the slices on a plate near the stove, so they’re nearby when you start frying.
- Add the oil to a Dutch oven or wok and heat.Place a Dutch oven or wok on the stove, and add 4-inches (10-cm) of canola or peanut oil. Turn the heat to medium-high, and heat the oil until it reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
- Use a deep frying thermometer to monitor the oil so you know when it’s reached the right temperature.
- Fry the pork belly in batches until it is dark brown.Add the sliced pork belly to the hot oil in batches, frying the pieces until they turn a dark brown and the skin becomes crispy. It should take approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
- Make sure to flip the pork belly slices halfway through the cooking to ensure that both sides are crispy.
- Place the pork on paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper.When the pork belly is fried to a golden brown, use tongs to remove the pieces from the oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper to taste while it’s still hot.
- Cut the pork, and serve with the sauce.When the pork has cooled slightly, use a knife to cut it into ½-inch (1.3-cm) pieces. Set them on a serving platter, and serve with the lechon sauce for dipping.
- You can serve the lechon kawali as an appetizer for a party or as a main course with a side of rice.
- When you’re frying the pork, it helps to use tongs to flip the pieces to avoid burns.
- If you don’t want to make the lechon sauce to serve with the lechon kawali, you can dip the fried pork in vinegar instead.
Things You’ll Need
- A small saucepan
- A wooden spoon
- A large pot
- A wire rack
- A rimmed baking sheet
- A sharp knife
- Two plates
- Paper towel