The Ilocano variant of dinuguan, dinardaraan is almost dry rather than saucy. In this recipe, chopped bagnet (Ilocano crispy pork belly) is added for crunch and texture.
The most obvious question is whether lechon kawali can be substituted for the bagnet to cook dinardaraan. I’d say yes. BUT there will be a difference in texture.
While both bagnet and lechon kawali are deep fried pork belly, there is a difference in the way they are cooked. Both are boiled until tender before deep frying but, in the case of bagnet, the boiled pork is traditionally left to dry for a day before frying twice.
Yes, bagnet is twice fried. First, over medium heat and then over high heat a second time. The drying gets rid of excess liquid and double frying results in a lighter and crispier pork belly.
So, although you may use lechon kawali instead of bagnet for to make dinardaraan, know that there will be a difference in the mouth feel of the cooked dish.
Did I cook the bagnet used in this dinardaraan recipe? No. Fortunately, we are able to have frozen cooked bagnet delivered to our doorstep regularly (check out PM4Food). We just thaw and heat it in plenty of hot oil and the bagnet can be served directly or used in some other dish like dinardaraan.
- 250 grams pork cheek
- 3 shallots - peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic - peeled and chopped
- 1 two-inch knob ginger - peeled and grated
- 4 finger chilies - sliced thickly
- 6 cups fresh pig’s blood
- ¼ cup tamarind extract
- patis (fish sauce)
- 500 grams cooked frozen bagnet - thawed completely
- 100 grams pork liver - cut into thin slices
- Cut the pork cheeks into very small pieces.
- Heat a pan and spread the pork cheek pieces on the bottom. Cook over medium heat until at least a tablespoon of fat has been rendered.
- Add the chopped shallots and cook, stirring, until softened.
- Throw in the garlic, ginger and chilies. Continue cooking, stirring often, for one to two minutes.
- Stir in the blood, tamarind extract and a two tablespoon of patis.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until reduced by one-third.
- While the blood simmers, deep fry the bagnet to reheat.
- Transfer the bagnet to a chopping board and cut into bite-size pieces.
- Add the pork liver to the blood, taste and add more patis, if needed, and simmer for five to seven minutes.
- Drop the bagnet into the blood, stir lightly then turn off the heat.
- Serve the dinardaraan immediately with rice.
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