|That's the Boy's finger, tapping on his lunch|
I can be a very frou-frou girl at times, wanting to eat long and well while sipping some bubbly (pinkie raised) under a fabulous starlit sky. But most days, I am a very simple girl (some camps will beg to disagree) happy to be reading a good book with a good cup of Joe often times accompanied by simple Pinoy cravings which I happen to have a ton of. Among these native cravings would be Cassava Cake (Sticky Pudding Made of Grated Cassava and Coconut Milk, topped with a Custard), Pichi-Pichi (Rice cake but made of Cassava and rolled in Shredded Coconut). Not to be eaten with coffee cravings are any of the following: Chicken and Pork Adobo (Vinegar and Soy Based Stew flavored with Garlic, Whole Peppercorns and Bay Leaves), Chicharon Bulaklak (Like Pork Rinds except is made of innards?), Children's Party Spaghetti (Sweetish and full of Red Hotdogs), Tira-tira (Local candy made of muscovado), and Guinataan (Coconut Cream Stewed Cassava, Yam, Sweetened Bananas, Jackfruit and Tapioca flavored with Pandan Leaves). The most powerful Pinoy craving I have, however, is Lechon (Whole Roasted Pig) preferably cooked in the manner of Cebu. With this particular craving, resistance is futile. Countries like Russia, China, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, America, Mexico have their own styles of roasting but I think our style of roasting can give any of them a run for their money. Even Anthony Bourdain thinks so!
I have pledged my undying love for the pig in another blog http://lepirouette.blogspot.com/2010/08/ode-to-pig.html and it is also there I mentioned that Lechon, in my humble opinion, ought to be our national dish. Admittedly, it is not and should not be everyday food for one will certainly keel over if he ate this on a daily basis. But that shouldn't count as a point against this glorious, festive food. And today, we are having this in the kid's lunch box because yesterday's Math mid-terms was a success!
For this version which I started to make around 5 years ago, I choose a boneless, skin-on belly that has never been inside a freezer. I pound together, sea-salt, black pepper, lemongrass, shallots, 2 pieces of star anise, and garlic. I put it on the belly and roll as I would a jelly-roll. Then it is thrown in the oven until I can tap and hear the magical sound of it's golden, crispy skin as if singing "I'm ready!".:-)
Today's Lunch Box: Lechon Pork Belly scented with a ton of Lemongrass, Native Shallots, Garlic, Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, Star Anise (Filipino-style Porchetta) with a dipping sauce of Soy-Vinegar-Chili-Calamansi and Steamed Rice.
Here's to more celebrations of the Math kind!
Kain na! :-)