11 Oct2006


I interrupt my two-part rant on credit cards with this wonderful snacking diversion…chicharon with maple syrup, paprika and salt. It sounds horribly bizarre, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…read on. I was browsing through the October 2006 issue of Gourmet Magazine and spied a bizarre sounding yet intriguing recipe for “Caramelized Pork Rinds” by Chefs Jose Andres and Katsuya Fukushima of Minibar, in Washington D.C. Their recipe calls for packaged chicharrones, presumably from Central or South America, dark maple syrup, salt and cayenne. I was intrigued because of the simple ingredients – pork fat, sweet syrup, salt and spice – yet unusual treatment. I was also encouraged by the fact that we happen to have about a gallon of spectacular medium maple syrup in the pantry from a recent balikbayan box sent from New York.

I purchased 200 grams or about 8 oz of freshly fried chicharon from Lapid’s. Extracted the maple syrup from the pantry. Take a heavy pot and place about 3/4 or chich2slightly more of a cup of medium (didn’t have dark type) maple syrup in the pot and turn it to medium heat until the syrup starts to bubble in about 3 minutes. Add the chicharon and stir to coat evenly and cook for about 3 more minutes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with cayenne and salt (original recipe). At the last minute, I took out our bottle of cayenne and realized it was past its prime so I quickly reached for some good smoked paprika instead (though sweet rather than spicy). I sprinkled the maple syrup coated chicharon with about 1 teaspoon of paprika and about 3/4 teaspoon or more to taste of good non-iodized salt. Spread this out on a pan to cool. In the humid Philippines, cooling it in an airconditioned room is easier if you already have the AC on…

Serve a few minutes later. They were STUNNINGLY good!!! They had that characteristic chicharon crunch and chich3flavor, an initial overlay of sweet but not cloyingly so maple syrup coating, flavor punches of paprika (I will buy cayenne for the repeat performance) and nice hints of salt. This is definitely a winner. The perfect start to an informal barbecue with some drinks. Perfect picnic or baon food. It is like a wickedly bad and fatty Kettle Korn, if you ask me. When someone figures this out, they will be making it fresh and selling little packages like these ones for PHP25-30. And I would buy it. Talk about diet busters!!! If you want more crunch, use packaged rather than freshly fried chicharon, that should keep its crunch better; fresh can get a little makunat or soggy. And you have to eat this within an hour or two of making it…it would never last that long in our house anyway…



  1. Katrina says:

    I’m not a huge fan of chicharon, but I think I would love this! Can’t wait to hear what Chichajo thinks… ;-)

    Oct 11, 2006 | 8:14 pm


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  3. RoseLyn says:

    Wow! I’ll try this one. I’m soo into snack foods and this one looks like a real winner. There goes my anti-snacking campaign… Oh well…grin

    Oct 11, 2006 | 8:30 pm

  4. wysgal says:

    That’s really original. There’s nothing like the odd combination of sweet and salty to shock our taste buds and get them excited. Sort of like chocolate covered potato chips. =)

    Oct 11, 2006 | 9:02 pm

  5. Johnny says:

    Hi MM, the moment you mentioned maple syrup I realized I read that recipe somewhere. Yes it must have been Gourmet magazine. Now that you tried and tasted it – and it’s good – perhaps it is really worth a try. However, there’s still a lot of other recipes in my list that have been long due to be tried – cookies, cheesecakes, cakes, etc. So tough to decide! But thanks for the recipe. I’ll surely keep this in mind!

    Oct 11, 2006 | 9:44 pm

  6. gonzo says:

    i think you’re all nuts. sweet, maple flavoured chicharon??

    Oct 11, 2006 | 10:35 pm

  7. Doddie from Korea says:

    I echo gonzo’s reaction. Gimme chicharon plain and salted, thank you. It will always be a savory snack for me, never sweet. I don’t particularly like kettle corn anyway, either.

    Oct 11, 2006 | 11:03 pm

  8. wil-b cariaga says:

    hmmmm. . . i’d love to try this. . .

    Oct 11, 2006 | 11:13 pm

  9. edee says:

    it reminds me of sugar/caramel-coated kropek when i was a kid :)

    Oct 11, 2006 | 11:57 pm

  10. Maria Clara says:

    Totally different approach to serve chicharon from the traditional spiced vinegar. Your eyes are beyond realm of extra ordinary. You created another niche in the chicharon nirvana – sweet and savory.

    Oct 12, 2006 | 12:20 am

  11. kaye says:

    haay, i stopped eating chicharon eversince my mom passed coz of this.. hehehe! not trying to scare you guys into tasting these coz am sure MM’s recipe is a winner.. let’s just say it’s a medical fact that eating this especially the ones with fat on it can really shoot your blood pressure way over the limit.. that’s what happened to my mom.. anyway, it’s still a delicious treat for those who love them and who can tolerate them.. i still adore this site!

    Oct 12, 2006 | 1:26 am

  12. relly says:

    hello MM…i am still following your post…was busy during summer for my work…but i have enjoyed browsing into your blog…
    about your chicharon i am imagining perhaps the same feeling on eating caramelized popcorn. Was it?

    Oct 12, 2006 | 5:17 am

  13. Veronica says:

    Hi, I’ve been browsing your site and I really like the content. Gives me a connection to home . I’m based in Richmond, Va.
    If you don’t mind, I’ll add your link to my food blog.

    Regarding chicharon, I was asking it for pasalubong from my relatives but Customs confiscated it… :(

    Oct 12, 2006 | 7:17 am

  14. Sandra says:

    Jose Andres is a Spanish chef who has a fabulous restaurant in WDC. He is a disciple of Ferran Adria of El Bulli.

    Chicharon is one of my best foods! It is like comfort food for me. Actually, I prefer bituka to the one you are showing. A few years ago, I had pancreatitis because of this and nearly died. They took out my gall bladder then.

    Careful,careful! Pero ka namit.

    Oct 12, 2006 | 9:04 am

  15. Berry says:

    Oh the horror stories behind chicharon! This is by far the only Marketman post that has gotten me terrified of a truly wicked treat!!!

    Oct 12, 2006 | 11:18 am

  16. Marketman says:

    Like Gonzo, I would have dismissed this idea just a few months ago. However, as Sandra points out, this recipe was created by what Gourmet describes as some of the new breed of culinary alchemists who have been “playing with their food” in ways most of us have never even thought of. Oddly, this is one of the simpler recipes from these food technicians and it is truly surprisingly good. I like my chicharon with suka and sili too but this recipe is an eye opener… Veronica, they should sell chicharonnes at Latin shops in the U.S. or by mail order…its almost exactly the same as our version. relly, yes its like eating caramelized popcorn but its also fat filled and wickedly bad for you, I would imagine. kaye et al, yes eat this in moderation and at your own risk!!!

    Oct 12, 2006 | 11:20 am

  17. anonymous paul says:

    sweet-salty-spicy-fried-pig-skin. sounds like a novelty. i don’t think its a good idea to have this with monggo soup, though

    Oct 12, 2006 | 11:21 am

  18. ems says:

    Hi Marketman, pahingi…..
    I’d like to try this some time…. miss those chicharon that my mom buys in Pampanga…. can’t find the same kind here

    Oct 12, 2006 | 4:10 pm

  19. Mon C says:

    Looks yummy! Amazing how the rind becomes crispy again after cooking in syrup for 3 mins. Too bad I’m allergic to maple syrup. Might be as good with honey or muscovado?

    Oct 12, 2006 | 4:42 pm

  20. Mandy says:

    oh my goodness, you are so bad!! posting chicharon on my pms days!! i need chicharon!!! argh.

    Oct 12, 2006 | 6:26 pm

  21. oggi says:

    It’s not surprising that the chicharron came out good. Maple syrup, aside from topping pancakes, waffles and French toast, is used to cure sweet type bacon. I haven’t seen nor bought South American made chicharrones where I live in Northern VA. I buy the ones made here in the US, usually from NY, NJ or TX. They are widely available and can be found at the snack aisle section of regular grocery chains. I will definitely try this. Thanks, MM.

    Oct 12, 2006 | 8:42 pm

  22. Veronica says:

    Marketman , I do see chicharon in some of the Asian/Latin stores over here but there is this particular one from Tarlac or Pampanga that includes the “laman” that I really like.

    Oct 12, 2006 | 9:57 pm

  23. Marketman says:

    Veronica, oh, now I understand… hmmm, question is, how do you sneak it in through customs…heehee…

    Oct 12, 2006 | 9:59 pm

  24. joey says:

    HOYAGAAAAD! (I’ve fainted)

    Oct 13, 2006 | 12:31 am

  25. joey says:

    ok i’m back….oh my, oh my, oh my…i am SO doing this soon! I was almost in tears with this post…AAAAAAAAH!!!!!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful fantastic idea!!! OH BOY! Ok, I am so dying right now that I have lost all control over the english language…

    Sweet and fat together is fabulous! I actually have a favorite sandwich that involves bacon and stroop (Dutch sugar syrup) :)

    Ok, one more time with feeling…THANK YOU!!!

    Oct 13, 2006 | 12:36 am

  26. Mila says:

    Lol, I was so looking forward to Joey’s reply, I’m sure C was fanning her constantly while she read this.

    Oct 13, 2006 | 10:11 am

  27. Katrina says:

    Like Mila, I was waiting with bated breath for Joey’s reaction. And I must say, Joey, you did NOT disappoint! ;-)

    Oct 13, 2006 | 12:48 pm

  28. iska says:

    love chicharon but maple syrup coated chicharon? hmmm sounds really interesting perhaps i should try it sometime…

    Oct 18, 2006 | 11:04 am

  29. ted says:

    Looks like maple syrup is good with anything! Has anyone tried Fried Chicken with Waffles and warm Maple Syrup and creamed butter? When a friend of mine asked me to try them, i thought he was weird. Well, they actually have soulfood restaurants here in the bay area serving these.

    Oct 31, 2006 | 10:21 am

  30. Marketman says:

    ted, after my chicharon with maple syrup, I would try fried chicken with waffles! I think the fat, salt, sweet mixture is the key… oh and ted, I think I tried to respond to an email you sent but my answer was rejected…not sure if it was an incorrect address…or at least I think it was you…

    Oct 31, 2006 | 10:33 am

  31. ctl98 says:

    I just discovered your blog and I LOVE it! I’m in Canada and what better way to bring back memories of home than reading about the food. I’m a foodie myself and an adventurous cook, so I really appreciate this blog.

    This recipe just reminded me of one that I tried over the holidays…bacon pecan brittle! I know it sounds weird but it was sooooo sinfully good!

    Feb 28, 2007 | 8:21 am


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