pork belly lechon kawali
Family Table | Mains | Mama Meals

How to Make 4 Weeknight Dinners from One Pork Belly

July 7, 2017

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What do you say when I tell you that from one big pork belly you can get four different weeknight meals? And you can make it ahead too, like on a weekend, so you can get dinner to the table on the weekdays fast.

Coming from the Philippines, I really love eating pork. However, Tobi, my husband, doesn’t. For a German, that is a bit weird, but he is not your typical German anyway, so…

But from time to time, I am able to convice him to eat pork. But if he doesn’t, that is not problem for me, as I can have my pork during lunch time at home.

When I saw this big slab of pork belly on sale last weekend, I grabbed it and started thinking of what to make from it. I figured I can get a few meals from it, for my lunches and something that Tobi will eat.

I cut the pork belly in half, made pork adobo with the half and lechon kawali with the other.

Read on for what I came up with!

Pork belly meal #1: Pork Adobo

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As every Filipino will tell you, there are as many adobo recipes as there are islands in the Philippines (which is 7,107 if you are interested 😊 ). This is mine.

After trying out the many different ratios of vinegar to soy sauce, this is now my favorite. This recipe is based on one given to me by a friend, Allen. His basic recipe is for every kilo of pork or chicken, add in 1 cup of soy sauce, 1 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water. That also works, but I prefer my adobo with a bit less soy sauce and a bit on the sweet side. So my current ratio is:

  • 1 kilo pork, chicken or a mix
  • 1 cup (240 millilitres) of vinegar (I use a 50-50 mix of apple cider vinegar and Filipino coconut vinegar)
  • 2/3 (160 millilitres) cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • lots of garlic (usually around 10 cloves)
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (480 millilitres) water

Put everything in a pot and braise over medium heat until the meat is fork tender. It usually takes me at least an hour.

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Serve with rice. Happiness on a plate.

I love the simplicity of this recipe that it just puts all the ingredients into the pot and braised. No marinating, no pre-frying or sauteing of the aromatics before. Easy and almost hands-free.

As with all adobo, this is also awesome the next day, reheated until the fat is rendered, then fried in its fat until crispy.

This recipe is also what I use for chicken. It cooks a bit faster though, as chicken gets tender quicker.

I also love a white adobo (no soy sauce), which I cook based off this recipe from Marketman and adobo sa gata (adobo with coconut milk), which I make from a recipe in my 7000 Islands Cookbook by Yasmin Newman.

Tip: Adobo keeps really well, though admitedly it doesn’t last that long with me. It can also be frozen and reheated and it will taste even better!

Pork belly meal #2: Pork Adobo Carnitas

carnitas

Tobi will eat almost anything in a wrap. So I know that he will like this.

You will need the following:

  • tortilla wraps, small ones
  • roasted corn on the cob (on the grill, pan or oven), or if you don’t have that available, canned sweet corn will do, just give a quick sautĂ© in butter and season with salt and pepper
  • sour cream
  • Salsa Fresca

For the Salsa Fresca

  • 4 Roma Tomatoes, chopped (around 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • lemon juice to taste
  • handful of chopped coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Get the pork adobo you cooked, shred and fry up (You are making adobo flakes). Put on a warmed tortilla wrap with roasted corn, salsa fresca (mix the chopped fresh tomatoes, minced red onion, minced garlic, lemon juice, chopped coriander, salt and pepper) and sour cream.

If you have avocado, that would also taste good with this.

That’s it! All the hard work was done already when you made the adobo!

Pork belly meal #3: Lechon Kawali

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Crispy skin, soft unctuous fat and pork meat, dipping sauce (sawsawan) of soy sauce and calamansi, and rice. One of my favorite meals. Unfortunately it takes some time to cook, so I seldom make it. But when I do, I really savor it!

I have based this recipe on David Chang’s pork belly recipe which is used for ramen (see here for my easy-peasy ramen) or pork buns. I like the simplicity of the rub and it really highlights the taste of pork.

So how do you make it? Dry brine the pork belly over night with a mixture of sea salt and sugar. For every kilo of pork, use 1 tablespoon white sugar and 1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt. Mix well and rub onto the pork belly. Marinade in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to dry the skin.

pork belly for lechon kawali

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F.  Put the pork belly in a roasting tray with a rack. Roast the pork in the oven for two hours (for a 1 kilo pork belly) or up to 3 hours (for a 2 kilo pork belly) or until cooked and the meat is fork tender, but not falling apart. Internal temperature should be at least 63°C/145°F at its thickest part.  Increase the temperature to 200°C/400F. Drain out the fat from the pan and reserve. (You can use this to make pork buns, see my favorite recipe here.) Roast for a further 15-20 minutes or until the skin is crisp and has blisters.  Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before slicing to eat. Serve with a dipping sauce (sawsawan) of your choice (I love soy sauce and calamansi) and rice, of course.

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(oh yeah, I burned this one a bit! Life (aka Becca) got in the way and I wasn’t able to watch it closely when I was grilling the top! But it was so crunchy that even if it was burned a bit, it was still soooo good!!)

Tip: This freezes really well, just freeze into your portion sizes so that you’ll take out just what you need at a time. You may lose the crunch though, so keep that in mind lest you get disappointed.

Pork belly meal #4: Sisig

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I have never made sisig on my own before. I have helped friends make it, by chopping pork belly, pig’s ears or parts of the pig’s head. But that was the extent of my participation in the process.

Chewing on the tendon-y ears wasn’t something I liked. And for sure I didn’t want to cook a pig’s head on my own. So this sisig is just made of pork belly.

I tried a few recipes from the internet and called a friend as well, and this is my version. This I have as lunch, with rice. Beer lovers, go ahead and have this as pulutan (something eaten with alcohol is called pulutan in Filipino)!

Also, this recipe makes just one serving (as Tobi will not eat this!), so increase as needed.

  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) lechon kawali, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1 small red or white onion (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon toyomansi or 2 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce + 1/2 teaspoon calamansi or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Knorr Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp mayonnaise
  • chili – to taste
  • black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • scallions, for garnish
  • more calamansi or lemon juice

In a small saucepan, put in the pork. Fry over medium high heat until the fat is rendered. Add in the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent and the pork has crisped up. Pour in the toyomansi and Knorr Seasoning. Mix well and cook for a minute. Add in the mayonnaise and stir until mixed completely. Season with black pepper to taste. Crack an egg in the middle and stir until it is mixed well into the pork and is cooked through. Garnish with scallions. Before serving, drizzle some extra calamansi and lemon juice. Enjoy with rice or an ice-cold beer.

There you have it guys!

pork belly meals

Also, while writing this post, this was running over and over in my head! To quote Moana : “That’s good pork!”

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  1. Very nice Tweety!!! I will try this. Thank you and keep cooking and "feeding" us with more ideas and recipes.

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