Last week when I was down with some kind of flu, there were two days when I really couldn’t get up to do the cooking, and we lived on pizza (from Domino’s) and tacos (from Army Navy). I’m sure they were good but to a sick person, everything has that generic cardboard taste. So, the first opportunity that I felt well enough to move around in the kitchen, I cooked a meal that I made sure would taste nor look nothing like cardboard. Deep bold flavors. Lots of colors. Exciting textures. But without too much work. I was, after, still trying to get well.
The meal I could prepare without fuss was lechon kawali. There was a huge slab of pork belly in the freezer which I put in a pan with water, lots of rock salt, a whole head of garlic, a whole onion and a generous amount of peppercorns. I simmered it until tender then into the turbo broiler it went where it grilled for about 40 minutes (it was a large piece of pork) until the rind was puffed and crisp. Yes, that’s how I’ve been cooking lechon kawali in years — no frying.
After grilling, while the pork rested prior to cutting, I made Java rice and a salad.
Carrot and cucumber salad with mango-kalamansi-ginger dressing
- 1 medium-sized carrot
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 tablespoon mango jam
- 1 tablespoon kalamansi juice
- a pinch of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger grated
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- pepper to taste
Using a same vegetable peeler, peel the skins of the carrot and cucumber.
Using the same vegetable peeler, cut the carrot and cucumber into long ribbons. Set aside.
Make the dressing by stirring together the mango jam, kalamansi juice, salt, ginger, olive oil and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the carrot and cucumber. Toss lightly. Serve at once.