The new cast iron pan and my baby mint plant got me excited to make something in the kitchen tonight. I wanted to make something simple and the first thing that came to mind was some inihaw na liempo or grilled pork belly. This was a dish that always takes me back to Sunday lunches back home with the family and how I did it couldn’t have been simpler! A word of caution though: This can get smokey.
I got myself two strips of pork belly before going home from the supermarket across the office. Pork belly is an amazing cut of pork with strips of fat running between layers of meat. This fat keeps your meat juicy and adds a bit of extra oil on your pan once you heat it up enough. The skin, when cooked properly, can also give you an extra crispy crackling that is a treat in itself! Seasoning was just salt and pepper for this one. If you get to prepare this beforehand, you can opt to marinate this overnight in some soy sauce, calamansi, salt, and pepper for even more flavor penetrating the meat.
With my pork belly ready, I heated my pan on the stove and once I got a bit of smoke, on goes the pork belly! What you want to hear is a nice sizzle as soon as the meat hits the metal. I gave both sides a quick sear before lowering the heat and slowly cooking the meat through. Leave the belly on the pan, flipping every now and then just to make sure that both sides cook evenly.
Once done, remove from the pan and let it rest. You can serve this already as is with some sauce for dipping. I chose to top it off though with some julienned mint leaves from my plant to cut through the fattiness of the pork and to add a bit of color to the dish.
So that’s it! A few simple ingredients to come up with a quick meal that looks and tastes amazing. Cheers!