As much as I ravaged with glee the lechon kawali I made a few days ago, the almost three pounds of crisp pork belly proved way too much for one person. I ate to my heart’s content and still had about half a slab left to find use for. I’ve had the pleasure of trying pinakbet with crispy lechon at one of the Filipino sit-down restaurants in Cerritos but I’ve never prepared the dish myself at home. Pinakbet is easy enough to make but lechon kawali, however, is no walk in the park. With a laborious cooking process that takes a whole day, it deserves to be enjoyed on its own glorious self. Still, if you find yourself, like me, with leftover bagnet, lechon kawali or even crispy pata lying around, throw in the crunchy morsels into your next pot of pinakbet for one-of-kind flavor and texture.
My regular pinakbet calls for shrimp paste (alamang) but I wanted a lighter broth to compliment the crispy lechon kawali in this version so I substituted fish sauce instead. Alright, alright, I admit. I am a liar, liar with pants on fire. I didn’t have any shrimp paste so I used patis which, for some reason, I have four bottles of in the pantry. #storyofmylife. I have to say, the fish sauce worked pretty well with the overall flavor of this colorful veggie dish but if you are better at shopping than me and actually have shrimp paste in the house, replace the amount of fish sauce called for in the recipe with 1 tablespoon of shrimp paste. Saute it with the aromatics for about 3 to 5 minutes before adding water. That’s it, folks. Have a wonderful weekend ahead and please make sure to check in regularly at Kawaling Pinoy for more deliciousness to come. I appreciate you.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups water
- ½ small kabocha (calabasa) peeled and cut into pieces
- 6 to 8 okra, ends trimmed
- ½ bunch long beans, ends trimmed and cut into into 3-inch lengths
- 1 bitter melon, seeded, halved and cut into 1-inch thick
- 1 large eggplant, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch thick
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups lechon kawali, cut into 1-inch pieces
- In pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until limp and aromatic. Add tomatoes and cook, mashing with back of spoon, for about 5 minutes or until softened and have released juice. Add fish sauce and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil.
- Add squash and cook for about 2 minutes. Add okra, long beans, bitter melon and eggplant. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender yet crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add lechon kawali and gently toss until just heated through. Serve hot.