Mouthwatering Bagnet Recipe
Bagnet is an original delicacy from Ilocos. It’s actually a pork belly dish similar to lechon kawali, both are boiled before deep-fried until crispy. So what’s the difference between the two besides the fact that the one is an original Ilocano dish?
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While lechon kawali is deep-friend only once, bagnet is fried twice (with an hour or so interval) to give that double crispiness. This process is what makes the bagnet unique in its own, so sinfully delicious. For those who have tasted the dish, they said that eating bagnet is like eating lechon kawali and chicharon together. Garlic and vinegar, please!
However, be extra careful when deep-frying the pork belly as hot oil may splatter and may burn your skin and can also affect your eyes. Cover the big wok and use a long tong when frying. It would also help if you wear a protective gear such as hand gloves, safety glasses or a mask, and an armor shield, just kidding! But you get the point, right? It’s better to be safe than sorry.
One technique to avoid getting hit by a splattering oil when turning over the meat is to remove the cooking pot away from the heat before doing the process.
While others love to have their bagnet with bagoong, it’s preferable to pair it with banana ketchup. Oh, well, to each his own. Let’s leave the eating after cooking.
How to Cook Bagnet
- 2 to 2½ lbs. whole pork belly
- 6 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorn
- 1 medium red onion
- 1½ tbsp salt
- 4 to 6 cups water
- 3 cups cooking oil
- Place the pork belly in a wide and deep cooking pot with water. Make sure that the pork belly is fully submerged in water. Let it boil.
- When the water starts to boil, add the crushed garlic, onion, 1 tbsp salt, and whole black peppercorn. Simmer for 30 minutes or until tender according to your preference.
- Take out the pork belly from the cooking pot and transfer to a plate. Let it cool to room temperature or use an electric fan if in a hurry.
- Scrub the remaining ½ tablespoon of salt all over the boiled pork belly. Leave it for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Put a deep cooking pot on the stove and heat the cooking oil. Once oil gets hot, gently put in the pork belly and deep-fry over medium heat until the pork belly turns golden brown and the texture gets crispy. (Warning: the oil may splatter during this process. Make sure that you do not cover the cooking pot completely while deep-frying. You may use a splatter guard on top of the cooking pot to control the oil.)
- Prepare a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Once the pork belly is golden brown and crispy, turn off the flame and transfer the pork belly to the prepared plate. Let the pork belly cool down to room temperature.
- When the pork belly cools down (about 45 minutes to 1 hour), heat up the oil on the cooking pot one more time. Deep-fry the same pork belly for the second time over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until it gets extra crispy.
- Remove the crispy pork belly from the cooking pot and place on a plate lined with another set of paper towel.
- Slice the pork bagnet into serving pieces and serve with your favorite dip (bagoong, lechon sauce, or simply toyomansi)
- Share and enjoy!