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Lechon Kawali, Taro Gnocchi & Beet Purée

Recipe: Chef Allan Pineda

A Filipino staple at family gatherings, lechon is a crispy, seasoned pork belly traditionally deep-fried in a kawali pan. Allan’s version incorporates aromatic lemongrass and favourite local root veggie, beets.


Lechon Kawali (Pork Belly)
1 lb pork belly
1 tsp Hawaiian sea salt
1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
3 bay leaves
3 cups vegetable oil
2 bottom stalks of lemongrass

Beet Purée
4 small beets
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 cup water
Pinch of salt and pepper

Taro Root Gnocchi in Brown Butter
2 lb taro root
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp butter
4 bunches beet microgreens (Fresh Forage)
1/4 cup edamame


Lechon Kawali (Pork Belly)
1. Place pork belly in pot. Fill with water until pork is covered.
2. Add peppercorns, bay leaves, lemongrass and simmer 45 minutes until meat is tender.
3. Rub meat with salt. For a crispier skin, cover and refrigerate overnight to dry out pork.
4. Heat oil to 375°F and fry meat (7-10 minutes). Transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil.
5. Sprinkle with Hawaiian sea salt, slice and set aside for plating.

Beet Purée
1. In medium pot, boil beets until tender (15-30 minutes). Drain, cool and peel.
2. Place beets, honey, olive oil and salt and pepper in food processor. Blend until smooth.

Taro Root Gnocchi in Brown Butter
1. Peel taro. Boil until tender (approximately 45 minutes). Drain and cool.
2. Pass through potato ricer or food processor for finer consistency.
3. Lightly flour work surface. Add egg, taro, and flour. Mix with hands until dough forms. For fluffier gnocchi, do not over mix.
4.  Roll dough into rope (approximately 3/4“ in diameter). Cut pieces into desired shape.
5. Boil water in medium pot. Cook gnocchi until floats to surface.
6. Strain and set aside.
7. In saucepan, melt butter on high heat until brown flecks develop. Remove from heat.
8. Toss gnocchi in browned butter and sautée (5-7 minutes). Add salt to taste.
9. Plate, garnish and serve.


Yield 4 servings

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