Lechon Kawali (Filipino Crispy Fried Pork Belly) Recipe

Lechon Kawali (Filipino Crispy Fried Pork Belly) Recipe

Filipino-style boiled and deep-fried pork belly. [Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

Filipino lechon kawali is one of the great pork dishes of the world, and the only hard thing about making it is waiting for the boiled pork belly to air-dry in the fridge overnight before being fried until intensely crisp and crunchy on the outside and meltingly tender within.

Why this recipe works:

  • Salting the pork liberally and allowing it to air-dry in the refrigerator overnight after boiling results extra crispiness.
  • Cutting the pork into 3/4-inch slices creates the right balance between crispy outsides and juicy interior.
  • Yield:Serves 6-8
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:10 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skin-on pork belly, cut in half
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • Canola or peanut oil, for frying
  • Rice or cane vinegar, preferably spicy, for dipping

Directions

  1. 1.

    Place pork belly, skin side down, in a large pot and add enough water to completely submerge meat. Add garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until pork skin can be pierced with a knife with no resistance, about 1 hour. Transfer pork to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and season liberally with salt all over. Refrigerate pork until skin has completely dried, 6 hours or overnight.

  2. 2.

    Remove pork from refrigerator and cut into 3/4-inch slices.

  3. 3.

    Fill a wok or Dutch oven at least 4 inches oil and heat to 375°F over high heat. Working in batches, fry pork until deeply browned and skin has bubbled and crisped, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer pork to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt to taste. Cut pork slices into 1/2-inch pieces. Serve immediately with vinegar for dipping.