07 Jan2011


Starting chicharon experiments three days before a comprehensive blood test seems like a death wish of sorts. But then again, maybe it’s best I know how I am doing in the worst possible set of conditions… :) This was a crazy, porky, lardy kind of day. Let me start by writing about the last dish we cooked for a late lunch. A giant kawa, kawali or cast iron pan nearly half filled with freshly rendered pork lard seemed like the perfect place to experiment with some shrimp. Few recipes are faster to make than this one, and even fewer will taste as good relative to the effort required.


I seasoned some medium-sized suahe (just purchased fresh from the Carbon market a few minutes beforehand) with lots of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.


Piled the shrimp into a large chinese style “strainer” of sorts and plunged the shrimp into very hot pork lard.


Step back a bit as the shrimp may splatter rather violently. Count to about 10 seconds and immediately pull them out of the lard.


Place them in a stainless tray/bowl and squirt a couple of tablespoons of sriracha sauce on top, then squeeze a lemon or two over the shrimp, toss and serve immediately. How simple is that?? :)


The shrimp shells had just crisped up and the brief plunge was enough to JUST cook the meat of the shrimp all the way through but remain as sweet and succulent as possible. The sriracha sauce and lemon juice actually served to soften the fried shells a bit, so you may want to keep them separate as a dip instead. This was truly delicious. And so incredibly easy. The only hitch is you need some really fresh and wickedly hot lard. :)

Note: Photos taken by AT, as MM was cooking. :)



  1. tonceq says:

    haha! that’s our MM! willing to brave the fat laden path of food even before a blood test! I LOVE shrimp… it’s just that i prefer the bigger “Sugpo” or tiger prawns (correct me if i’m wrong) since you get more meat out of each effort to peel them! but messy hands makes for good eats! :)

    Jan 7, 2011 | 8:40 pm


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  3. chrisb says:

    MM, your blood cholesterol levels before and after the chicharron experiment would be as interesting as the resulting recipe! I’ve heard quite a few people (chiefly my septuagenarian mom) claim that chicharron is actually good for their health. It’s an interesting if rather sarcastic retort to killjoy pakialameros like me. haha

    Jan 7, 2011 | 8:52 pm

  4. marilen says:

    The recent posts are so inviting – the great thing, MM, is that you have the freshest ingredients at hand. Kawawa naman cami diri in snowbound climes where the seafood on sale is marked ‘previously frozen’!

    Jan 7, 2011 | 9:00 pm

  5. sister says:

    Marilen, Seek out a fish market where fresh, not previously frozen, seafood is on offer. Most supermarkets defrost their fish and shrimp prior to sale so don’t be tempted to buy supermarket seafood. Chinatown is a better bet, it serves a far more discerning customer.
    It is more difficult to find fresh seafood in a temperate climate but not impossible. Check farmers markets as well for a fish vendor. A fish store in NYC even offers never frozen Florida shrimp. Be wary of imported shrimp from Vietnam and Bangladesh raised under very questionable practices. Ask to see the box the shrimp came in, you can check place of origin and pack date. I know I sound like a nut but one cannot be too careful.
    Price is more of a deterrent, I just love going to the market in Manila with MM to see the fresh seafood on offer at ridiculously low prices compared to what I can find in NYC.

    Jan 7, 2011 | 9:22 pm

  6. THELMA says:

    this is one of my favorite ways of cooking shrimps also. sp simple
    yet so yummy….

    Jan 7, 2011 | 9:30 pm

  7. Leah says:

    I love these tiny shrimps when only “just” cooked and still remain sweet and juicy. I will look out for these tiny shrimps if I ever go to Chinatown really early one of these days.

    Jan 7, 2011 | 10:09 pm

  8. millet says:

    i can smell that from here!

    Jan 7, 2011 | 10:30 pm

  9. atbnorge says:

    The shrimp that I buy from a local fisherman here has been cooked on board and sold on the same day along with fresh cod and sometimes during the summer, some fresh mackerel.
    This post makes me dream of summer…Malapit na ang summer…Konti na lang!

    Jan 7, 2011 | 10:44 pm

  10. marilen says:

    Sister, amen to all you posted. That is why our intake of seafood is abysmal here where I live – area cannot support a thriving Chinatown of sorts – another reason why I look forward to posts from MM – to reawaken the old tastebuds of memories past. Your brother is such a blessing with his engaging curiosity of food and nature and people and all things and places in between. Plus a ‘wicked’, at times reflective, often humorous style of writing to boot!

    Jan 8, 2011 | 12:59 am

  11. natie says:

    haaayyyy—only in the Philippines….Shrimp Chips and Dip

    Jan 8, 2011 | 1:30 am

  12. EbbaBlue says:

    Last May on my annual visit to Pinas/Quezon Province – a neighbor fisherman gave me a palanggana full of (still jumpin) shrimp, pasensiya na lang daw at tira lang yon sa ibinigay ng amo niyang fishpond owner. Oww… gosh, never seen such fresh shrimp. I tadtad some lemon grass and garlic and sprinkled them on the shrimp and then coat-halo it with twad of oyster sauce. Tapos on a very very hot oil – ayun I plunged and fried them for 5 mins. With fresh cooked rice (harvested a day before), banana leaves covering our low bamboo table… my staff and had a feast! Ang table deco namin, cut bandera espanola and bouganvilla. Wow talaga – what an experience.. what a life… simple but great pleasure on these basic pinoy style. Food, background and people. Since the table is low (japanese style), no chair, ayun naka-upo sa floor and we use our hands eating. Next I am buying a banga to put our water and keep it cool. Also for the oil nga pala, its a rendered coconut oil home made.

    Jan 8, 2011 | 2:02 am

  13. betty q. says:

    About 10 years ago, I used to buy the fresh small shrimps in Chinatown. A hubby’s co-worker also at that time owned a commercial fishing boat and his wife would bring us sooo much shrimps. I don’t see them in Chinatown anymore…only the spotted prawns. I wonder where those small shrimps went?!?

    MM, next time you make palabok…try this. I made palabok and me…the queen of laziness when it comes to going out to buy whatever I lacked…decided to use SHRIMP CHIPS or KROPEK ( a staple in our house…my only indulgence!) and pounded it roughly and used that in place of chicharon…it is soooo good!…the best part….cheap compared to buying chicharon since the shrimp chips sometimes costs 80 cents when on sale and chicharon costs $2 something!

    Jan 8, 2011 | 2:33 am

  14. kakusina says:

    why cook live shrimp at all? best breakfast i ever ate was jumping salad. all you do is squeeze some calamansi over the leaping little critters. sweet! had them with rice cooked with pork lard and lots of native garlic and barako coffee.

    Jan 8, 2011 | 12:37 pm

  15. Mom-Friday says:

    Ooh…cholesterol! hehehe :) Fried, crispy, steamed…shrimps for me anytime! :)

    Jan 8, 2011 | 9:45 pm

  16. kayenne says:

    do you know how good lard is for making fried chicken and flaky pastry???

    Jan 9, 2011 | 12:55 am

  17. quiapo says:

    Beef dripping (beef lard) has traditionally been used here to fry fish and chips; this has now been replaced for health reasons by cottonseed oil which gives good results.

    Jan 9, 2011 | 3:22 am

  18. eden claire says:

    kalami MM!

    Jan 10, 2011 | 10:39 am

  19. Anne :-) says:

    MM, what is a sriracha sauce?

    Jan 10, 2011 | 11:54 am

  20. Anne :-) says:

    MM, what is sriracha sauce?

    Jan 10, 2011 | 4:38 pm

  21. Teresa says:

    Wow MM! that’s a huge strainer you’ve got…I want to have 1 too. Ahhh that’s your cooking implement for chicharon making. The Shrimps look yummy.

    Jan 10, 2011 | 6:49 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    Anne, sriracha is an asian style chili sauce. I think Thai in inspiration or source, but now made and marketed in the U.S. and elsewhere. They have it bottled in good groceries…

    Jan 10, 2011 | 7:47 pm

  23. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Buffalo Shrimp!

    Jan 11, 2011 | 1:55 am

  24. George says:

    Hi, where can I buy lard in Manila?

    Feb 8, 2011 | 3:23 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    George, not sure where you can buy lard in Manila, but if you have the time, its easily made… I think I did a post on it in the archives

    Feb 8, 2011 | 3:57 pm


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