Crispy Pork Belly also known as Lechon Kawali in Filipino or Siu Yuk (燒肉) in Chinese, is one of my favourite dishes. I have always hated making it at home since it requires so much oil to deep fry and we rarely deep fry anything so all that oil would end up going to waste. But that all changed now that I picked up an air fryer during Boxing Day!
This recipe involves the pork sitting for at least 12 hours so plan well in adavance and the pork must be skin on, otherwise, you will not get the proper crispy skin consistency. Your local supermarket may not have skin on pork belly and you may need to visit your local butcher to get some. Just like my boar chop recipe, the prep for this dish can be done days in advance and finished off in the air fryer when you are ready to eat it. Trust me, it's totally worth it.
I've colour coded the ingredients and the instructions for this recipe since it is a little more involved compared to my other recipes, I hope it helps.
1. Score the meat part of the pork belly being very careful not to go all the way through to the fat part. I like to score the meat in a diamond pattern about 1/2 inch apart. Doing this step allows you to season the meat evenly with the 5 spice powder that is to come later on in the instructions.
2. Boil skin on pork belly in water with the green onions, regular onions, bay leaves, black pepper, garlic, salt, sugar. Feel free to add other aromatics that you like. Boil for around 12 - 15 mins
3. Take out and cool on a rack. Once cooled (it doesnt have to be completely cool, just whatever temperature your hands can handle) use the skewer to poke a bunch of holes in the skin being careful not to go all the way through to the meat. The more the better, as this step will help give you that crackly and puffy skin
4. Brush skin only with vinegar and rub with salt, let sit & repeat in 20 mins
5. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours uncovered, if you can, periodically dry off any moisture that comes out of the skin. (Thinking about this step, I suppose you could place the pork in front of a fan to dry out faster. I'm not sure if this will work though. If anyone has done this, please let me know)
6. Rub all sides, except the skin (top) liberally with 5 spice and salt. I have heard of people rubbing the skin with watered down soy sauce or even Coca-Cola which gives the skin a texture similar to the Spit Roasted Lechon. I have not tried this myself but am intrigued!
7. Air fry skin side up at 395 degrees fahrenheit for 40 - 50 mins depending on thickness of your pork belly. You dont need to flip it or even brush it with any more oil since its own fat will start coming out of the little holes that you've made on the skin.
8. Take out of air fryer and let sit for 15 mins before cutting into pieces. If you cut the pork right away, the skin will not cooperate and will likely fall off or shatter. Serve as is or with some spicy vinegar with soy sauce.
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