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.