Level up your Pinakbet with Crispy Lechon! This Filipino dish is a hearty and nutritious vegetable stew made extra delicious with crunchy pork belly. It cooks in minutes and makes a great side or main dish.
As much as I enjoyed 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 a use for.
I tried a pinakbet version using crispy lechon at a Filipino sit-down restaurant in Cerritos. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make it at home with the big chunk of leftover meat on my counter.
Pinakbet is easy to make, but lechon kawali 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.
Fish sauce or shrimp paste
Classic pinakbet uses shrimp paste (alamang), but I wanted a lighter broth to complement the crispy lechon kawali in this version, so I substituted fish sauce. I have to say; it worked pretty well with the overall flavor of this colorful veggie dish.
If you want to use shrimp paste, replace the amount of fish sauce with 1 tablespoon of shrimp paste. Saute it with the aromatics for about 2 to 3 minutes until it darkens in color before adding water.
Cut the vegetables in uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. For the best texture, add the longest-cooking vegetable first .
How to serve and store
- Pinakbet with crispy lechon is delicious as a side or main dish for lunch or dinner. Serve with steamed rice and daing na bangus for a tasty and filling meal.
- Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Please note that the crunchy pork belly will lose texture over time, especially when tossed in the sauce.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ small kalabasa (kabocha), peeled and cut into pieces
- 8 okra, ends trimmed
- ½ bunch long beans (sitaw), ends trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
- 1 large bitter melon, seeded, halved, and cut into 1-inch thick
- 1 large eggplant, stemmed and cut into 1-inch thick
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups lechon kawali, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- In pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until softened.
- Add tomatoes and cook, mashing with the back of a spoon, 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 kalabasa 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.
- Cut the vegetables in uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. For the best texture, add the longest-cooking vegetable first .
- To use shrimp paste in place of fish sauce, add 1 tablespoon of shrimp paste and saute it with the aromatics for about 2 to 3 minutes until it darkens in color before adding water.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”