When we think of crunchy, savory dishes, what may often come to mind are those of the breaded variety. May it be Fried Chicken, Shrimp Tempura or other recipes of the like, we truly enjoy a good, crispy breading. But being Pinoy also means you can probably recognize the merits of a pork belly dish that’s cooked right. Some of the most beloved Filipino dishes are those of the crunchy variety, made with the deliciously meaty component. Crispy bagnet is one of the best examples of this.
Before we run through the steps of making it though, how about a little backgrounder on the classic recipe? Keep reading for a bit of the dish’s history, as well as what makes it so undeniably special!
What is Bagnet?
If you have tried Bagnet, then you would probably know just how unforgettable this dish is. With a golden, crispy exterior likened to pork crackling, this really makes for an irresistible dish most would surrender to. Bagnet usually involves using pork belly, and deep frying it with oil and water until the skin crackles.
But for this recipe, I will introduce you to a method that involves using our pressure cooker and oven. Overall, we are able to get an even crunchier, delicious variation that is perfect to indulge in.
Now a question that might be running through your head is— where exactly did this irresistible dish come from? The origin of Bagnet can be traced back to 1576 in the town of Narvan in Ilocos Sur. People have said that the Spanish conquistador Captain Juan de Salcedo was served this iconic dish when he first arrived there, as made by the natives. And ever since, the townspeople have passed it down to the next generations.
And this should come as no wonder because who wouldn’t want to share this glorious recipe with their kids and grandkids? The dish is so popular and loved by many that there is actually a “Bagnet Festival” in Narvacan to celebrate the delightfully juicy food. But you don’t need to travel all the way there to have some of your own. Let me teach you how to create a satisfyingly Crispy Bagnet!
How to cook Bagnet at its crispiest and juiciest!
Preparing and pressure cooking the pork belly:
Before anything, we will begin by preheating the oven to 175 °F. Then proceed to pour 8 cups of water into your pressure cooker. We will also incorporate 2 bunches of lemongrass, 2 tablespoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of whole peppercorn, and 1 onion into the mix. Now let this boil.
Afterwards, you can go ahead and place your 3 lbs. of pork belly inside. We will boil this for a total of 3 minutes. Then cover the pressure cooker, and let this cook for 15 minutes. Now let the pressure out completely. Once that is done, you can transfer the pork belly on a clean plate. Make sure to let this cool for 10 minutes so that you won’t burn your hands when we start to season the meat.
Seasoning the pork belly:
And then use some salt and black pepper to add flavor to the pork belly. Season the meat part with these ingredients. And then turn it upside down, so you could also season the skin part. But for this, only use the salt. After this, we will start wrapping the sides of the pork with aluminum foil. After that, rub 2 tablespoons of vinegar onto the skin part.
Baking the Bagnet:
Now we are ready to bake this! Place this in your oven for baking for about 2 2/1 hours to dehydrate the skin. After that, remove it from the oven, and set it aside. Now pour 6 cups of cooking oil in a wide wok. Apply heat, and when it gets hot, you can add 6 cloves of garlic, as well as 3 laurel leaves. Cook this until the garlic floats. Then take the garlic out and the laurel leaves out with a strainer.
Take a slab of pork belly, and arrange this over your skimmer. And then pour hot oil over this with a ladle. Keep doing this until you achieve the crackling texture on the skin. Keep repeating the steps until you’ve done this for all the pork belly. Then you can just transfer it to your serving plate of choice. Have it with any dipping sauce you’d like, and get ready to chow down!
A great part about Bagnet is that it’s got a lot of flexibility for when you’d like to serve it. It can make for a great pulutan dish or on the side of some drinks, and can also be a satisfying meal altogether! You can try having yours with rice, but eating it solo should work too.
How did you like this Crispy Bagnet recipe? If you’ve got any questions about it, don’t forget that the comments section is always open!
While this dish is good, chances are that there will be leftovers. I have some great dishes that you can cook using bagnet.
Binagoongang Bagnet with Talong is a Filipino favorite. Instead of using regular pork, use crispy bagnet instead. It gives the dish nice crisp texture that takes it to a different level.
Lechon Paksiw using bagnet is a perfect dish to cook. It is a type of pork stew with a sweet liver sauce. This is good to have with warm rice.
Crispy Bagnet Recipe
- Preheat oven to 175F.
- Pour water into a pressure cooker. Add lemongrass, salt, whole peppercorn, and onion. Let boil.
- Add pork belly. Boil for 3 minutes. Cover the pressure cooker. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Let the pressure out completely Put the pork belly on a clean plate and let it cool-down for 10 minutes. Season the meat part with salt and ground black pepper. Turn it upside down and season the skin part with salt.
- Wrap the sides of the pork with an aluminum foil and then rub vinegar on the skin part.
- Bake it for 2 ½ hours to dehydrate the skin.
- Remove the pork from the oven. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a wide wok. Once the oil gets hot, add garlic and laurel leaves. Cook until the garlic floats. Remove the garlic and leaves afterwards using a strainer.
- Arrange a slab of pork belly over a skimmer. Pour hot oil over it using a ladle. Do this step until a crackling texture is formed on the skin. Perform the same steps until all the pork are done.
- Arrange on a serving plate. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Share and enjoy!