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Lechon Kawali - Air Fryer

This version of the Filipino Lechon Kawali, the classic pork dish was cooked in the Air Fryer for a grease-less entree. The original stove-top Lechon Kawali are pork cubes deep fried in a kawali (skillet). I first boiled the whole slab of pork to tenderize it. Then it took a few hours to dry out in the refrigerator. The final stage of cooking was done in the Air Fryer and it cooked faster than the familiar stove-top way. Best of all, there was no hot oil jumping out of the pan. Serve with a side of lechon sauce and steamed rice. This is an Asian in America recipe. Serves 2.
Prep Time1 d
Cook Time49 mins
Total Time1 d 49 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Lechon Kawali Air Fryer
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 70kcal
Author: Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Air Fryer
  • Stock pot (6 quarts)


  • 1 pound pork belly, whole slab, fat trimmed
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 whole medium-sized onion sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For serving:

  • lechon sauce, on the side; use bottled from Asian markets
  • steamed rice


How to boil and prepare the Pork:

  • In a stockpot, combine the whole slab of pork with the pineapple juice, water, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Stir the liquid. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 35 minutes till pork is tender and cooked thoroughly. Pierce the meat with a fork to check on tenderness.
  • Remove the pork slab from the liquid. (Note: Keep the broth in the refrigerator or freezer as a base for other dishes).
    Place the pork in a container. Refrigerate and let the pork dry out for 4 to 6 hours, or up to overnight.

How to cook in the Air Fryer:

  • Take the slab of pork from the refrigerator. Place it on the basket of the Air Fryer and close the drawer containing the pork.
    Set the temperature at 400 F and cook in the Air Fryer for 7 minutes.
    Then turn down the temperature to 375 F. Continue cooking in the Air Fryer for 7 minutes more.
    *Note: In between cooking in the Air Fryer, you will hear the pork 'bursting'. Do not be alarmed - it's the pork, not the machine.
  • When pork is cooked, click to turn off. Unplug before touching anything else.
    Slide open the drawer. Use a pair of long tongs to take out the pork. It will be hot and sizzling, so be careful not to touch the inside parts of the machine that can burn your hands.
    Place the slab of pork on a chopping board. Using a cleaver or large knife, chop the pork into bite-sized cubes (about 1-2 inches).
    Serve while warm with a side of lechon sauce and steamed rice.

What is an Air Fryer:

  • An Air Fryer is a counter-top kitchen appliance, which uses hot air in combination with high speed air circulation (what is also known as TurboStar rapid air technology), and a top grill to cook the food in a non-greasy way. The ingredients are heated from all sides at once. Most of the time, there is no need to add oil to the ingredients.
    Safety: When using the Air Fryer, as with all other appliances, please read the product manual for basic safety precautions and instructions.

Cook's comments:

  • Filipino Lechon Sauce is a sweet, thick gravy that is served with roast pork. It consists of cooked pork liver, bread crumbs, garlic, onions, sugar, bay leaves and seasonings. Bottled Lechon Sauce is found in Asian markets or online sources. Sometimes, I make homemade Lechon Sauce, which I shared on a past blog post.
    I used a Philips Air Fryer that is a small-sized model, which can fit ingredients that makes dishes for 2 people. This model has a removable basket at the bottom, which is like a drawer that slides in and out. (This is not an ad. This is my own opinion).


Serving: 1g | Calories: 70kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1172mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg