Saturday, January 22, 2011

an ode to a birthday

I thought long and hard about Kulinarya's cooking challenge this month.  Instead of a typical theme, the hosts (thanks JenMaribel and Tressa) had posed a fun question:  What Filipino dish would you cook for your birthday?  I must admit, I don't do anything for my birthday.  It is the one day in the year that I get a free pass... as in no cooking, no chores, no work, as I get the "queen of the day" title. We all need a break and there is no better day to celebrate - when the clock strikes 12 you are the queen, or king, for the next 24 hours.

My birthday comes right after my hometown's fiesta in August.  My dear Mama would reserve food for my party... in fact she would reserve most of the food for my birthday, haha!  As a little girl, I have fond memories of inviting  the whole class and my teachers to my party.  Lechon always topped the list, if I was lucky it was a whole roasted pig.  But if not, I was content with the leftover lechon, I remember vividly how my Mama instructs our cook to freeze the rest for "Malou's birthday" to make Lechon Paksiw.  This is leftover lechon stewed in a sweet and sour sauce of vinegar and liver sauce to be served on my birthday.

Since at this time I cannot roast a whole pig, I decided to prepare a dish based on Lechon Paksiw.  But somehow "paksiw na lechon" may not look appealing, so I took it as a fun challenge.  I had much needed help with this challenge.  So together with my best friend Teyene, our culinary experiment began.  To be quite honest, this has been so far the most challenging, but yet most fun Kulinarya challenge. I got to spend time with my friend, whom I love dearly.  And was all smiles even as I splattered oil over the oven top and her fire alarm kept on shrieking due to the smoke created by the splattered oil - much to the chagrin of her husband who was taking a nap at the time.  It was good times indeed, good times.

Deconstruction of Lechon Paksiw, aka Pork Belly, with a tamarind glaze and laced with liver sauce

I got the inspiration to make this dish from Bouchon, Thomas Keller's French bistro in L.A.  My family recently dined there and one of the dishes we ordered was pork belly with cherry marmalade, which quite frankly was comparable to our lechon kawali.  So I am adding my flare to the dish, adding a Filipino touch best described as a deconstructed Paksiw na Lechon.

Please see my Crispy Pork Belly  recipe. 

For the tamarind glaze:

4 pcs sweet tamarind pulp with seeds
1 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
salt to taste

Boil the water together with the tamarind.    When the tamarind is soft and pastey remove the seeds.  Add sugar and salt.  Reduce the sauce until thick.

Liver Pate gravy:

1/2 cup liver pate
3 cloves garlic,  minced
2 tbsp  honey
3 tbsp apple cider
1/2 cup broth
1 tbsp olive oil

In a saucepan brown the garlic with olive oil.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Let it simmer until it beomes thick and gravy like, adding more broth if needed.

Lace the pork with gravy and pour the tamaraind glaze on the pork.  Top the pork belly with avocado slices. 

The flavors maybe varied but it will blend together.  The avocado is not included in the traditional Paksiw na lechon.  I added it as it brought an interesting texture and gives a surpising twist to the crunchy pork belly.



This is my contribution to the Kulinarya Cooking Club . Check out other members on our website Kulinarya Cooking Club



  1. Hi Malou! That looks so nice! I love lechon kawali! The tamarind glaze is very interesting. I'll try your recipe next time we have lechon kawali. :)

  2. Marvin: the tamarind twist gives the asim taste.. i hope you get to try it
    peachy: of course you may... this is what recipe sharing is all about.

  3. the other week i was craving paksiw na lechon, out of nowhere...but i've always disliked it as a kid. now u're making me want to try it.

  4. That Pork Belly look very crispy and succulent. Hmm, the tamarind sauce is very interesting; wondering if it can be served as a dipping sauce. Thank you. . .

  5. I actually love lechon paksiw even more than actual lechon! What a marvelous take on this classic dish - love the sound of the tamarind glaze. Galing! (Hehe - I'm trying to use more Tagalog now...)

  6. wow, lou, you've surpassed yourself here. your lechon twist looks amazing. i love avocado and tamarind, i should try this one but have yet to find someone to cook the pork belly. i'm not good in frying food.m

  7. That lechon kawali really looks crispy and succulent. I'm glad you came up with a lechon sauce recipe because I've been looking for a homemade sauce that I can make from scratch. I'm not too happy buying the store bought sauce because it has preservatives in them.
    Thank you for coming up with this.

  8. Lala: If I made you crave for it, then that's a complement for me. THanks for dropping by my one of my fave TWEEPS!

    Ray: that would involve another culinary experiment. Ill gladly check that out for you.

    Tracey: Whoa you are learning Tagalog words so fast. I won't be surprised when one of these days you'll be writing in complete sentences already haha.
    Marife: Make sure to use a deep fryer if you decide to fry it. Thanks for the compliment, but I wish you could try it then tell me it's good haha... but if I were you i would suggest to get a riper avocado than the one in the picture... thanks for the kind words

    Laura: If you don't like the liver pate, you could use chicken liver. Make sure to grill it first before sauteing it. thanks lar for the kind words.

  9. Hello!
    I'm thrilled that you spent time joining the fun, even if you found it challenging. Must be nice to think back of the past and had a good time making it with a friend. Love the dish!

  10. wow the pieces of pork belly looks really amazingly delicious! Lakas!!

  11. great dish love the presentation CAYGO love it hugs

  12. My goodness, Malou!! Note to myself..not to check on food blog before bfast=;)nakaka-gutom! If i could only reach and grab your lechon kawali. What a wonderful job you've done.
    Speaking of porkbelly, it's funny coz those "known" chefs are now going crazy and coming up w/ their so called signature porkbelly dish. I was in Chicago recently and ofcourse did my foodventure, went to 3 medyo kilala na restaurant owned by "sikat" na chefs...tried all their porkbelly dishes and all three had an Asian flare. The girl and the goat restaurant (Chef Izard) had tamarind on their pigs face dish=;)I'm in the process of doing one version. They were really good kaya lang wasn't happy w/ the portions. You pay so much for a strip or 3 pcs of cubed pork belly=;( But then again...that's what you get of pasosyal, sosyal pa kasi! lol!!!

  13. Definitely something I would enjoy. I love liver sauce with lechon but like paksiw na lechon even better. The tamarind is such a nice addition as the sour kick would cut the richness of the pork. Am I invited to eat this?

  14. My mouth is watering this very instant! Your pork belly has all the right flavors - sweet and sour from the tamarind, savory from the liver sauce. Genius, Malou!

  15. Hi Malou! I will definitely try this. Thanks for posting! Nakakagutom!

  16. Lechon Kawali is such a traditional thing to have at a birthday party. I love the way you tweaked it. The tamarind glaze would be so tasty and would also cut alot of that fattiness from the Lechon. This dish would certainly make me eat a lot more than what I should. ehehehe

  17. I will definitely try this. I make Lechon Kawali often but definitely will try this recipe.

  18. Loved the tamarind glaze and liver pate gravy, Malou! Sounds like a more refined version of Mang Tomas! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Jen: Thank you for the fun challenge. It really made me think and create...

    jean: haha i don't exactly know what you mean by LAKAS? but thanks! I presume it's bigat? haha idk!

    Reb: CAYGO is a favorite term I use and my kids exactly know what I mean by that...

    Pia: you are hilarious but it's nice to experience the pasosyal sosyal ones in awhile right? The servings at Bouchon was quite impressive if I may add.

    Adora: mi casa is wide open for you.. of course you are invited as i am too right?

    Annie: aww thank you, Im tickled pink haha but thanks for the kind words.

    Tita: great to see you and thank you for coming by

    Kath: i would add that the avocado cuts the fattiness of the pork too. It blends so well and it adds an interesting texture to the dish.

    saraplicious: Thanks so much, great to meet you.

    Jun: when you bite into it, the flavors marry each other and yeah taste like the liver sauce that we are familiar with lechon paksiw. Thanks JUN!

  20. Ay naku malou, ano ba yan?
    even when I close my eyes I can still see that lechon kawali and the tamarind glaze....can I have a big mountain of rice with that please=)

  21. Wow, I love it! What a great twist to paksiw na lechon.

  22. Pork belly galore!! I could eat that stuff forever :) I've never tried lechon kawali but now you've got my mouth watering for some!

  23. This looks soooo good Malou! And it's wonderful to be able to share your love of cooking with your dear friend. :)

  24. This is wonderful! I should have bought tamarind from my Mexican grocer! They have it by the barrel =).

    The real lechon sauce has to have pork liver! Thanks for sharing, Malou!


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