Spicy Pandan Yogurt Rice With Crisp Roast Pork Belly

Spicy pandan-yogurt rice

Special main dish

When one talks of a special meal, the most usual attitude is to think in terms of a special main dish. I’m not exempt from that mentality. I often get so wrapped up in preparing the most delectable main dish, using very special ingredients, that I forget one obvious thing. Although a special main dish can make a meal outstanding, it is equally true that a special meal can mean a totality. How? I can think of two ways.

Impressive texture

First, take a very plain ingredient and dress it up with something unusual. For example, hard-boiled eggs. Who would consider plain hard-boiled eggs remarkable? But wrap them in meatloaf or fry them to create an impressive texture, smother them with a sweet-spicy-salty sauce and garnish crisp onion slices and voila.

Cooked with yogurt

Second, a simple main course becomes anything other than boring when paired with something unusual. Think outlandish. Like serving lechon with rice cooked with yogurt. The combination was so darn good that we ran out of rice before all of the lechon could be consumed.

Spicy pandan rice with crisp roast pork belly

Don’t be alarmed. There are no complex procedures for cooking the rice. And you don’t need special equipment either. Just cook your rice as you normally would, in a rice cooker or on the stovetop, but instead of adding water, use meat broth, add yogurt, spices, and a few pandan leaves. The aroma is heady and the multitude of flavors that blend together will make you eat more rice than you usually do.

Recipe: Spicy pandan-yogurt rice with crisp roast pork belly

2 c. of long-grain rice
3 c. of broth, preferably homemade
1 c. of plain yogurt
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. of ground cumin
1/2 tsp. of pepper flakes
1 tsp. of ground turmeric
a pinch of ground cinnamon
2 to 3 pandan leaves
cooked lechon for four persons
finely sliced onion leaves
crisp fried onion slices
toasted garlic bits


Rinse the rice as you normally would. Drain. Put in the rice cooker. Pour in the broth. Add the yogurt, salt, black pepper, fennel seeds, cumin, pepper flakes, turmeric, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Twist the pandan leaves to form a knot. Add to the rice. Cook.
When the rice is almost ready, prepare the lechon by chopping the meat into bite-size pieces. Then, assemble the dish. When the rice is done, rake with a fork to fluff. Scoop the rice into individual bowls. Top with lechon kawali. Garnish with onion leaves, crisp onion slices, and toasted garlic bits.



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