Cooking With Mom: Crispy Pork Belly & Garlic Fried Rice

For this edition of Cooking With Mom, the recipe was inspired dad! I had bought this big slab of pork belly in anticipation of making lunch with my mom...visions of braising, low and slow...Afterall, cooking with Mom can often be a therapeutic process. We catch up...We discuss current storylines in our favorite Filipino soap operas...We take our time in the kitchen.

This time, though, my dad waltzed in and decided to change the whole game up: he just wanted something fried. So, in honor of his request, Mom and I actually tackled two classic Filipino dishes. The crispy pork belly in this recipe is inspired by lechon kawali. Lechon kawali is pork belly that has been boiled until tender, then deep-fried in a wok (or kawali). We paired our version with garlic fried rice, which is a staple at any Filipino breakfast table. It's usually served with pan-fried meats, like longanisa sausage or salted milkfish, so we thought the pork and rice would make a delicious pair!

To compliment the flavor of the garlic, my mom and I decided to use brown basmati rice. Its texture is more delicate than regular brown rice, not having as much of a chewy bite, but the flavor is more fragrant and nutty. We also chose to cook the rice without using a countertop rice cooker. (Gasp!)

To prepare the basmati rice, toast the grains first in a small pot with melted butter. Then, add the water and season the mixture with a bit of fine sea salt. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, then simmer on low for about 40 minutes. Once the time is up, remove the pot from the heat, and let it stand for 10 more minutes with the lid still on. Fluff the rice with a fork, and set aside to cool.

While the rice is cooling a bit, start frying up the pork belly. (Anything can be fried in a wok.) We eliminated the whole boil-until-tender step because the meat was sliced into small strips first. They fry just as quickly, and now you only really need one pan to cook with.

The slices are brown and crispy on the outside, with the skin puffed up and crunchy, but the meat inside is tender and juicy. (Fried pork. Insert all hungry noises/grunts here.)

Next, chop the pork belly into bite-size pieces. (My favorite part about this step, when I was growing up, was that my mom always used her giant cleaver. Whenever I heard the pounding on the chopping block, I knew it was lechon time!)

At last, it's time to fry the rice! Garlic fried rice is usually just rice and...garlic, but we added chopped scallions for extra flavor, texture, and brightness. (Because green = vegetable, right...?)

Drain most of the fat from the wok, leaving about 2 tbsp for the fried rice. Start by sauteing the garlic and scallions for a minute or two. Once the garlic has just begun to brown, add the rice. Stir-fry everything for another 2-3 minutes. 


Serve the slices of crispy pork belly right on top of the garlic fried rice, and that's it!

For dipping, we love to serve the pork with sweet chili sauce or Mang Tomas, the traditional condiment for lechon. Every crispy, salty, garlic-y bite is so good! This is a perfect rustic dish for a casual weekday meal!

Thanks for another great recipe, Mom, and I can't wait for the next one! :)

Crispy Pork Belly with Garlic Fried Rice (serves up to 6)

Print Recipe

2 tbsps Unsalted Butter
2 cups Brown Basmati Rice
3 cups Water
2-2 1/2 lbs Pork Belly, sliced into 2-in wide strips
Vegetable or Canola Oil, for frying
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Scallion, chopped
  1. In a small pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Once the butter begins to sizzle, add the rice. Stir to completely coat the rice. Toast for 2-3 minutes, then add the water. Season with 1 tsp fine sea salt, stir to combine, then bring the mixture to a boil. Next, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and turn the heat down to low. Cook the rice for 40 minutes. Then, remove the pot from the heat (still covered!), and let it stand for 10 more minutes. Finally, fluff the rice with a fork, and set it aside to cool.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, evenly season both sides of the pork belly with fine sea salt and ground black pepper. Fry the pork belly in the hot wok, rotating every 3-4 minutes, until the outside is brown and crispy (about 12-15 minutes total). Transfer the cooked pork belly to a paper towel-lined platter to drain, then chop the crispy pork belly into bite-size pieces.
  3. Drain the fat from the wok, leaving about 2 tbsp for frying. Add the minced garlic and chopped scallions, then stir-fry for a minute or two. Once the garlic has just begun to brown, add the cooked rice.  Season with a pinch of fine sea salt and ground black pepper, then stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. To serve, top the garlic fried rice with the pieces of crispy pork belly and garnish with more chopped scallions. Enjoy!