This maybe a little too late since the craze about Air Fryer boomed, but, I was still so excited when we finally bought this magical tool for our kitchen. Lechon Kawali or deep fried pork is one of the famous dish here in the Philippines. It's best paired with freshly sliced tomatoes or fermented papaya shreads (atsara) to counter its grease. It's very delicious especially for someone who loves eating meat —like me. However, since it's rich with fat and the process of deep frying it makes it more unhealthy...Lechon Kawali is something I seldom eat.
But here comes the magic of Air Fryer, cooking food without the use of oil. This is answer to how I can enjoy eating this delicious dish without feeling the guilt of eating an unhealthy food. A friend suggested that I allot a day for preparing the meat but I was really excited to have a taste of Lechon Kawali and of course to finally try using the Air Fryer. 😂
Since the meat is cut in a smaller portion compared to the usual serving size, I thought that a two-hour preparation would be enough to make it tender and rich in flavor. Using a medium-sized pot, I set the meat in boiling water as I prepare for the ingredients that I'll add. This is like making a pork stock.
The ingredients I have used to add flavor to the pork meat are the following: laurel leaves, black pepper, garlic, thyme, white onion, and chili flakes. I want to achieve that hint of spicy flavor in the meat so I added a tablespoon of chili flakes. I set the pork stock to boil using low heat as I added these ingredients. With the slow process of putting all the ingredients, all the flavors will seep into the tendering meat.
Aside from the oil-free feature of using Air Fryer, it's also easy to use! It's like a glorified oven in some sense. I set the temperature to 180 C and set the timer to 20 mins, this depends on the size of the meat you're cooking. You can actually set a shorter time to check if it's already cooked. I just really got lucky that I was able to achieve the crispiness of the pork skin and tenderness of the meat that I prefer. Even though this is cooked without using oil, the meat itself is still greasy, so I paired it with the Kimchi I bought from a nearby Korean grocery store.
We eat this with a cup of rice on the side. Do I prefer this compared to the usual way of cooking Lechon Kawali? YES! Definitely, yes. I love that the meat was tender and juicy, and rich in flavor. Plus, I didn't have to go through the pain of deep frying this with cooking oil. 😅