Speedy just finished mowing in the garden and the smell of new-mown grass is something that I can only describe as provincial. If that’s not provincial enough, the mowing managed to disturb the almost invisible inhabitants in the grass and sent them scrambling. In through the bathroom windows they came and, against the sunlight, I could see that there were at least three kinds of insects flying inside the bathroom. But I won’t let them ruin my mood that’s been set right by good food.
This lechon kawali con tokwa dish that Speedy and I had for lunch today is memorable in many ways. First, it makes use of leftover boiled pork belly (we’re trying to observe a no-waste policy in the kitchen). Second, I found yet another way to cook lechon kawali without deep-frying (see lechon kawali with no deep frying, lechon sa hurno and lechon kawali, the easy way). Third, it is a very budget-conscious dish. Fourth, it is very easy to prepare. Fifth, it is simply delicious.
We start with the tofu. Because this is silken tofu which is difficult to handle, I coated the tofu cubes with starch before frying.
Into a pan of hot oil went the tofu where they fried until golden and crisp.
Next comes the pork which had already been cooked. The meat was cut into cubes and fried until browned and crisp.
When the pork is nicely browned, the spices were added.
Finally, the tofu cubes joined the pork, the sauces were added, everything was tossed together and the lechon kawali con tokwa was done.
Lechon kawali con tokwa (pan fried pork belly and tofu)
- 1 cup vegetable cooking oil
- 300 grams silken tofu
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup tapioca or corn starch
- 1 cup pork belly boiled and cubed
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce (yes, from a bottle!)
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- a drizzle of sesame seed oil
- scallions finely sliced
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
Place the tofu between stacks of paper towels and press to remove excess water. Cut into cubes about the same size as the pork (I went with one-inch cubes but that’s not a strict rule).
Toss the tofu cubes in the starch. Make sure that each piece is well coated. Fry in the hot oil until golden and crisp. Scoop out and set aside.
Pour off all the oil from the frying pan.
Arrange the pork in the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. How much depends on how much salt and pepper you used when the pork was boiled.
Set the heat to medium-high, cover and leave for about four minutes. To prevent any oil spatter, turn off the heat before lifting the cover. Turn each pork cube over, put the cover back on, set the heat to medium-high again and leave for another four minutes. Presto! Lechon kawali with no mess.
Add the sliced onion and garlic to the pork and cook over high heat, stirring often, for about half a minute.
Add the tofu cubes to the pork. Pour in the sweet chili sauce and the oyster sauce. Cook, tossing a few times, just until everything is heated through. Turn off the heat. Drizzle in the sesame seed oil and toss a few more times.
Pour the lechon kawali con tokwa onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sliced scallions and serve.