Lechon Kawali & Bagnet, Part I…


Despite having a dozen posts on the recent trip we took up North in the pipeline which include superb bagnet from both Vigan and Laoag, I figured I would jump the queue and feature these experiments with the deep fryer… Ilocanos may cringe at my lumping the two dishes together, but no matter how I look at it, Bagnet seems to be a re-fried lechon2version of Lechon Kawali or Lechon Kawali seems to be a pre-bagnet kind of preparation… At any rate, start with some good liempo with or without bones attached. I bought about 3 kilos of liempo and cut them into 4 medium sized pieces total. Next, I reviewed several recipes for preparing the meat and they ranged from just salting and boiling the pork to more elaborate spice concoctions… I decided to try the whole range from sparse to flavored to see which one we would ultimately like better. On the one hand, I just rubbed the pork with a lot of salt and boiled it in water for about 1 hour until cooked and somewhat tender. On the other extreme, I added onions, bay leaves, telicherry black peppercorns, tons of garlic and lots of salt to another piece of liempo and boiled that for about an hour until cooked…

I must say that the spiced version smelled better even in this first step. Once cooked, I drained the pork and put it on a plate on the kitchen counter to cool. Recipes are of two minds on the next step…some suggest you speed the drying process lechon3by sticking the boiled meat in a low heat oven for say 30-40 minutes. Others suggest just letting the meat literally hang out to dry. Still others suggest an overnight stay in your refrigerator. There was no hurry so we decided to skip the oven drying versions. I totally understand the “hang the meat out to dry version” but I just couldn’t get over the visions of all kinds of cooties, however unfounded, in our warm humid tropical setting. So we ended up chilling the meat in a cleared refrigerator shelf overnight. The next day, we were ready for the frying stage(s)… next post coming up soon… the results were superb!


20 Responses

  1. I think a very important step is choosing a good quality meat. awaiting the final output….

  2. oooh! i just can’t wait.. cholesterol-laden lechon kawali.. am just too scared to cook it.. too much splatter and pain.. again, am drooling already.. am sure this would be great with a bottle of ice cold beer.. yum!

  3. You did it! Oooh…I am looking at that big hunk of pork and wishing that was my breakfast! Can’t wait to see the next post :)

  4. wahhh bitin. . . hehe i was expecting it was fried in this post already hehe. . . have to wait for the next. . . adding spices etc. while boiling the pork is a good idea, bagnet/lechon kawali needs more flavor, mmmmm cant wait for the post. . .

  5. Mighty power of pork in its glorious state lechon kawali aka bagnet whatever name it is – all I can say is good stuff. I can’t wait t to see the next sequel of this hot and sizzling lechon kawali fever. It sounds like a Harry Potter track. The next episode will be more juicy. Stay tune!

  6. nyehhh, kakabitin ka naman MM! I’ll be out in another hour I guess I have to wait till the next post.

    Diba you could use the “pinaglagaan” (the one with spices)as a soup base in just any recipe that requires it? I once tried lechon kawali and used the “pinaglagaan” when I craved for sotanghon guisado, grabe ang sarap kong magluto! YAHOOOOO !!! hehehehhe

    thanks MM….

  7. My friend does a real delcious lechon kawali in a turbo broiler. It comes out cispy and of course we fool ourselves into thinking its healthier! I have really been enjoying my lechon kawali a way I was taught in Hong Kong, dipped in some English mustard and then in a little white sugar! So good! My favorite version is at Lei Garden, excellent fat marbling and crispy without being oily.. Now how do they achieve that? All these posts are encouraging me to go out and buy a deep fryer, your posts are illustrating what fun you can have with one!

  8. ay, favorite ito ng husband ko! we’ve been buying those pre-packed frozen versions from monterey but my husband just isn’t satisfied with it although pwede na. he’s been wanting to do a home-prepared, -cooked version but no one has been able to give us a recipe until now. thanks, MM!

  9. Half and hour to lunch and this is what i see….bitin pa….hehe…I should add a deep fryer to my wishlist. Anticipating the results as usual MM!

  10. What time are you going to post? The suspense is killing me! Sometimes, I log in and wait for you to post, and you do! Then, sometimes you don’t, then I log-out and when I come back, you’ve posted three items and I can’t decide which to read first;-)

  11. Gosh MM,
    Just as I thought netx in the deep fryer is the legendary “lechon kawali” all time favorite yan ng hubby ko…

    MM please tell where I can buy good deep fryer and what brand… thanks… :)

  12. Forgive me for my ignorance, but what is the difference between bagnet and lechon kawali? I thought they were the same?

  13. Very predictable MM! ha ha ha! when i cook lechon kawali i usually use the last procedure (put the liempo in the refrigerator overnight) one good thing on this procedure will see on the skin of liempo (parang chicharon) Yummmmmmy!

  14. I miss my Mom’s lechon kawali! She boils te meat first with spices and salt, then bake it in the turbo broiler. After cooling down, she either put in the fridge or freezes it. That way, we can have lechon kawali anytime.

    Yes, Brenda, ee usually use the sabaw in soups, pancit or other dishes yoo, but in moderation because the sabaw can be a bit salty.

  15. Yippi!!! last time i cooked lechon kawali (since it’s my first time naman po:)) i fried it without boiling, ay kakunat ng balat! hehehe:)

  16. I tried to lechon kawali a lot of times but its always a flop, I couldnt make it crispy like that of the bagnet. I was in Vigan last summer and I bought about 2 kilos of bagnet and its oh so yummy good for pinakbet!

  17. I have made lechon kawali for my family and freinds, and they love it. I boiled the pork with similar spices but instead of salting it and i added patis in the water. I have also used a pressure cooker to hasten the cooking time and it came out delicious as well. Just thought I’d share it with you guys.

    MM! I stumbled accross your site and I must say… I am have a blast reading all of the comments, blogs, etc… I will definately be back for more! More power!!!

  18. Lechon kawali can be tricky, but I use a method that is pretty much fool proof and relatively easy. I first pressure cook the pork belly in a solution of water, patis, salt, pepper, garlic and some sugar. When it is tender, I let it cool in the cooking liquid. When it is cooled, I then cook it in the oven until the skin is crisp. So this is like lechon pugon more than lechon kawali. The result however is similar, if not better than regular lechon kawali. The skin crisps up nicely, and the excess fat liquifies and bastes the meat. The end product is a crispy, tender, healthier but more flavourful piece of pork heaven.



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