Chicharon (Pork Crackling)

One of our go-to snack when we feel hungry in between meals is chicharon or pork crackling. Its crunchy, fatty, salty, filling, and low carb.

Chicharon brings me back to my childhood years when we holiday in our province. During the annual town fiesta, they make chicharon from the surplus pork skins. I would watch my Tata (my great grandpa) continuously stir pork skins in a giant kawa (cauldron). He would store it in bottles soaked in its own fat/lard. For breakfast, he would scoop out enough chicharon and fry them. And we would dip it vinegar and garlic and eat it with rice. Yum!

Now, when we crave pork cracklings, we buy pork skin in asian stores priced around $3.00 per kilo. With that, we can make a batch that can last for a week. Cheaper than chips!

Chicharon just needs 2 ingredients – pork skin and salt. The process I follow takes 2 days because drying/resting it overnight makes it extra crispy. I promise it’s worth the wait.

I hope you try this. If you have any queries feel free to ask. I would love to receive suggestions on what I can cook next time.

Ingredients:

Pork Skin

Salt

Procedure:

Preheat oven 150C.

Depending on the size, rub salt all over the pork skin (at least 2 teaspoons). Lay flat on a roasting dish.

Bake pork skin for 20 minutes or just until the skin is soft enough to be sliced easily.

Cool the baked skin until warm enough to handle. Place on a chopping board with the skin side down. Trim off excess fat and try to make it even as possible. It would help with the cooking later on. (The fat trimmings will also be cooked so no waste.)

Slice skin into 3cm squares. Return in roasting dish and bake for another 30 minutes (Alternatively, you can fry it in a pan) until skin is bubbly. It will produce lots and lots of fat/oil.

Transfer cooked pork skin into baking sheet lined with paper towel. Allow to dry overnight. Keep the fat/lard. We will use it to fry the pork skin once dry.

Heat up pork lard in a small saucepan. Fry pork skin in small batches. You may need to fry it twice for a bubblier, crispier, crunchier chicharon.

Once cooled, store leftover chicharon in an airtight container (preferably glass containers). It lasts up to 5 days. In case it becomes chewy, just refry it.

Chicken Adobo

Adobo is a popular Filipino dish made from either meat or vegetable and a combination of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bayleaf & peppercorns for its simmering sauce. Every household has their own adobo recipe – same basic ingredients but differs in proportions plus some other secret ingredients they add.  It’s delicious freshly cooked but reheating the following day further develops its flavour.

I remember my college professor way back telling us that adobo can last for days mainly because vinegar and soy sauce acts as preserving agents (like pickles I suppose). At home, we cook double the amount and then keep it in a sealed container in the fridge and reheat a few scoops of it when we want to eat some.

I usually use the Philippine brand of soy sauce and vinegar (Datu Puti found in Asian Stores) to make it more of our taste. But with this recipe, I used apple cider vinegar and store brand soy sauce in case you cannot get a hold of them. I can guarantee you it tastes just as good.

The way I do my adobo is, I combine all ingredients, give it a quick stir and let it simmer until meat is cooked but not soft. Then, I remove the meat and onions and fry them until it caramelizes. I then add spoonfuls of the sauce into the pan and slowly reduce until it becomes thick.

Mind you, your kitchen will be smelling like adobo for days. So keep your exhaust fan on high, open your window or better yet cook it outside. But it’s gonna be worth it.

Go ahead and try this recipe. Hope you like it as much as we do. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1/2 head of garlic, smashed (5-6 cloves)
2 bayleaves
1/4 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
500 grams chicken thighs
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)

Procedure:

In a saucepan, combine onion, garlic, bayleaf, cracked peppercorns, vinegar, soy sauce. Stir. Add in chicken thighs. Roll it in the marinade so its well coated.

Turn on stove to medium heat and allow the chicken-marinade mixture to boil. Turn the chicken thighs once in a while to cook evenly. Cook with cover slightly open for about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat.

You will notice that it will have more liquid. Separate the chicken & onion/garlic from the liquid and transfer to a skillet. DO NOT throw away the liquid, set it aside.

On medium heat, allow the chicken & onion/garlic to caramelize with 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil. Once caramelized, slowly add in the liquid a few spoonfuls at a time. Let the liquid reduce until thick and saucy.

Serve hot.

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NOTE:  Best eaten with steamed rice but since we’re on LCHF &/or Keto, here are some suggested side dishes

Steamed Broccoli

Pickled Cucumber

Diced Tomatoes & Salted Eggs

Easy Garden Salad