Today’s post takes us to Latin America, specifically Colombia. Ever since I saw the viral trend of eating chicharron with guacamole, I knew that I needed to try it out. For those of us that haven’t tried it yet, I must say that it’s delicious. Worth all of the effort. Enter today’s recipe: chicharron. With my wife being Colombian, I decided to make the Colombian version of this tasty fried pork belly dish.
Prepping the pork belly
The first step is to prepare the pork belly. All that you need to do is slice it into long strips as thick as you would like (I recommend around 1 inch thick) and then cut 1-1.5 inch thick slits across each slice but not through the skin (see picture below). Then place all of the pork belly in a large pot (a large pot is recommended because the pork belly will fry in it’s own fat and could splatter). Add some salt, baking powder, and baking soda – mix it all over the pork belly. Now we are just about ready to start cooking.
Cook in water to start
Once the pork belly is seasoned with salt, baking powder, and baking soda (these will aid in making it crispy), it’s time to add a couple cups of water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often. This part of the cooking process is very time consuming. We need the water to fully evaporate (tenderizing the pork belly) and then have the pork belly fat render out so that it can fry in it. It can take 1-1.5 hours for the water to fully evaporate.
Then it fries
As the water evaporates, you will notice the liquid start to bubble a bit more. Not like foam bubbles, but more like when you are frying something. This is because the pork belly’s fat has rendered out and is frying itself in it. Once this has started (remember, it can take 1-1.5 hours to get to this point), you’ll want to increase the temperature to medium heat and fry for another 20-25 minutes or until it is crispy enough to your liking. Continue to stir/move the chicharron around from time to time. My chicharron came out very crispy but I fried it for almost 30 minutes. If you prefer it on the less crispy side, just fry for less time.
These are delicious
While these might take a long time to make, they are certainly simple to do. The key is making sure you have around 2 hours to make them. These can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack, an appetizer, or a side dish. You can also be like me and eat this as a main dish with some guacamole. There’s a reason this trend went viral – such a delicious pairing! Whatever you decide to do, I trust that you will enjoy this tasty Latin dish. After all “es muy rico”.
- 3 lbs Pork belly
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 2 cups Water
- Cut the pork belly into strips that are about 1 inch thick. Make 1-1.5 inch slits along each pork belly strip.
- Put the pork belly in a large pot. Add the salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix to combine.
- Add the water and cook on medium-low until the water evaporates. Stir often. It can take up to 1-1.5 hours for the water to fully evaporate.
- Once the water evaporates, the pork belly fat will render out and begin to fry the pork belly. When this starts to happen, increase the heat to medium. Continue to stir often. Cook for another 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from the heat. Allow to cool and enjoy!