Liempo or pork belly is a favorite dish amongst Filipinos in pretty much all corners of the country. It’s one of the staple Filipino pork recipes in a cuisine that’s popular with pork dishes. However, unlike the extravagant lechon that’s reserved for big celebrations, liempo is an every day Filipino dish that’s a very common item in turo-turo stores or carinderia.
Although, it’s not really recommended to have liempo every day for health reasons, all the same. It’s a staple food in the average Filipino diet.
I admit that I have more than a couple of liempo in a week when I was in college but that’s because the local carinderia near our university always have it on their menu. And liempo is one of the dishes in that carinderia that’s the first one to sell out during the rush hour.
But are you ready for this recipe? Pinalagtob na liempo is arguably a healthier version of the traditional deep-fried liempo dish that uses different sugary soda drinks that the meat soaks in to absorb the flavor, depending on the recipe.
Pinalagtob na liempo is still a deep-fried dish but the preparation pre-deep frying the meat is what gives it its delicious flavors. This recipe uses multiple aromatic herbs like onion leeks, bay leaves, garlic, and ginger. The recipes are put in a pan with the pork belly along with seasonings of salt and pepper and are brought to a boil.
I actually haven’t heard of this recipe before until I was in college and I was visiting a friend of mine who happens to have a chef for a brother. I was invited to eat lunch with them and I remember being quite disappointed because liempo was served on the table, at least I thought it was just liempo.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t being ungrateful that I was invited to eat, it’s just that the chef brother was the one who cooked the lunch and I was expecting something more, I guess. I thought that he just wants something quick and easy to serve so I didn’t think much of it. There’s no point in complaining.
When I took the first bite, of the “regular liempo” on my plate. I almost did a double-take on what was on my plate because I couldn’t believe that the flavors came from that plain liempo. I never tasted such aromatic flavors from a fried dish before and it was delicious. I’ve had some delicious and tender liempo before from restaurants but this was something entirely different.
I asked my friend’s chef brother how he made the seemingly plain deep-fried pork belly to make it so flavorful and he patiently explained what pinalagtob na liempo is with some amusement in his voice.
I learned that day that lagtob is actually a Cebuano term that means blistered and in the kitchen, it means cooked halfway. So this liempo we had for lunch was cooked half-way with aromatic ingredients before it was fried to give it its delicious flavors.
Of course, I asked for the recipe so I can try it at home which he generously gave to me. I also did some research online and it seems that pinalagtob na liempo is not as well-known as the regular deep-fried liempo.
The first session of cooking in boiling water with the aromatic ingredients not only gives the liempo its flavors but makes it more tender than the regular liempo. The second session of cooking by deep-frying the liempo gives the liempo its crunchy texture and golden brown color. It’s a work of genius, in my opinion.
But is it actually a healthier dish than the regular liempo? Eh, I’m not too sure. But it’s definitely much more flavorful and a welcome change to the plain deep-fried liempo.
I’ve experimented over the years with different ingredients for my pinalagtob na liempo recipe and this is what I’ve come up with. We’re going to cook the final recipe today. We’ve listed all the ingredients that we’re going to need as well as enumerate the cooking instructions down below.
Everything step is fairly easy to follow. This recipe will require some time for preparing the ingredients. The only thing that needs care making sure not to take the liempo out of the boiling water too soon and not deep fry it too long afterward.
Are you more of a visual learner? No problem! We’ve made a fun cooking video for you to follow detailing the step by step instruction on how to cook this pinalagtob na liempo recipe. It’s a great recipe to impress your family and guests. Enjoy!
- 1 kilo of Whole Pork Belly
- 5 pcs. Slice Onion leeks
- 5 cloves of Slice Garlic
- 20 grams of Slice Ginger
- 3 pcs. Bay leaf
- 3 tbsp. Fish Sauce
- 1 tsp. Pepper
- 1 tbsp. Salt
- Water for Boiling
- Oil for Frying
- In the cooking pan add the ginger, garlic and onion leeks.
- Add the pork belly and bay leaves.
- Then followed by salt, pepper and water.
- Add water and set aside. Allow to boil until the liempo becomes soft.
- Cut the Pork belly and let it dry.
- When dry, deep- fry in cooking oil until crisp.
- Season with fish sauce.
- Served and Enjoy