Recipe for Lechon con tokwa


1-kilo slab of pork belly with rind
6 small or 1 large tokwa (firm tofu)
rock salt
1 whole garlics
2 whole onions
8 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 tbsps. of tausi (salted black beans), drained and rinsed
light soy sauce (to taste)
3/4 c. of vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
3/4 c. (or more) of sugar
1-2 tbsps. of tapioca starch
2-3 hot chili peppers (finger chilis)
3-4 c. of cooking oil


Scrape the pork rind with the sharp edge of a knife. Wash under running water and place in a saucepan or casserole. Pour enough water to cover. Add the salt, garlic, onion, peppercorns and bay leaf. Set over high heat and bring to a boil, skimming off the scum as it rises. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour. Remove the pork from the broth and cool. Freeze, if possible, until hardened. This will ensure that when deep-fried, the inside will remain moist while the outside is cooked to a crisp.

Heat enough cooking oil in a skillet; the pork should be completely submerged in oil for even browning. When the oil starts to smoke, set the heat to low. Have the lid of the skillet ready. Using a pair of tongs, carefully but swiftly lower the pork to the oil, skin side down. Cover immediately. Increase the heat to high. Place a heavy object on the lid if it is light. The intensity of the spattering of the oil can make the cover fly off. I normally place the mortar upsaide down to keep the lid on. Let the pork cook for 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the tokwa into two by two inch cubes. Finely mince the remaining garlic. Thinly slice the onion.

Turn off the heat. When the spattering stops, uncover the pork and remove from the oil. Using a heavy knife (a cleaver would be ideal), chop the pork meat and rind into two by two inch cubes.

Reheat the cooking oil and deep fry the tokwa until golden. Drain on paper towels.

Pour off the cooking oil from the skillet until only about three tablespoonfuls remain. Return the fried tokwa and chopped lechon kawali to the skillet. Add the garlic, onion, chili peppers and tausi. Stir fry for about a minute. Pour in the vinegar and soy sauce, if using. Add the sugar. Pour in about a cup and a half of water or unsalted meat broth.

Dissolve the tapioca starch in half a cup of water or unseasoned meat broth. Pour into the skillet and cook until the sauce is thick and clear.
Serve hot.

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