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Lechon Pork on Sinigang – Tamarind Stew with Vegetables

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While you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu, you still have to eat from now till then. So, try making this sumptuous Lechon Sinigang. This is the traditional, classic, tart Filipino tamarind stew with pork ribs and vegetables that we’re used to seeing on our table. But this time, try topping it with crisp chunks of lechon pork belly. I shared how to cook the lechon either in the Air Fryer or in the oven if you prefer. I avoided deep-frying the lechon pork, the way it was done in my Mom’s time. This time, I wanted to cut down on our greasy foods, and also prevent the painful oil splatters on my arms.

Start by simmering the pork ribs or use boneless pork shoulder chunks if you like, in the tamarind-flavored broth. Cook the vegetables in the same sour, savory broth. And finally, add the crisp pork belly cubes on the piping-hot Sinigang, at the table-side, to keep the lechon crunchy

Stir and slurp the tart, tangy soup. Inhale the savory aroma from the sinigang broth and sprinkle the clear soup around the mound of steamed rice on your plate. Enjoy the crunch of those pork belly cubes you popped in your mouth. The heavenly sensation of the soft crunch is beyond superb. I am sure Lechon Sinigang will be your holiday soup meal from hereon.

Lechon Pork on Sinigang - Tamaraind Stew with Vegetables

This Lechon Pork Sinigang is the Filipino classic tamarind stew of pork and vegetables, this time, with a topping of crisp lechon pork chunks. The tart, savory stew of pork, with what's known in the Philippines as backyard vegetables transforms to a festive dish for the holidays. Add the crunchy lechon cubes on the piping-hot soup at tableside, to preserve the crispness of the pork. This is an Asian in America recipe post by Elizabeth Ann Quirino.
I shared how to cook the Lechon either in the Air Fryer or oven if preferred. Cooking time for the lechon in the Air Fryer is shorter, at 14 minutes. Roasting the pork belly slab in the oven takes longer at 35 minutes per pound.
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time2 hours 35 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Lechon Pork Sinigang
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 63kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Air Fryer
  • Large Stockpot
  • Large baking pan - if oven roasting lechon


For Lechon Pork Belly:

  • 2 pounds pork belly, boneless;, whole slab if using with bone, add extra time for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • water to cover pork; if pre-boiling before the Air Fryer

For Pork Sinigang:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
  • 1 whole onion, white or yellow; chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
  • ½ cup tamarind concentrate
  • 1 pound pork ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 piece daikon radish, peeled, and sliced; about 1 cup
  • 2 pieces siling mahaba (mild, finger-like peppers)
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups sliced sitaw (long green beans), in 2-inch length pieces
  • 2 cups sliced kangkong (water spinach), ends trimmed; sliced in 2-inch length pieces

For serving:

  • ¼ cup patis (fish sauce), as a side condiment
  • steamed rice, for serving


To cook Lechon in the Air Fryer (option 1)

  • Take the whole slab of pork belly and place in a medium-sized stockpot.
    Pour enough water to cover the meat.
    Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
    Over medium-high heat, boil, then simmer pork for 30 minutes till tender.
    Remove from the water. Pat dry with paper towels. Air dry for at least 30 minutes on a dry rack before putting in the Air Fryer. The less moisture in the pork, the more crisp it will be.
  • Prepare the basket of the Air Fryer by spraying with vegetable spray.
    Place the whole slab of pork in the basket of the Air Fryer. (Note: If you have a small Air Fryer appliance, cut the slab of pork in half to fit).
    Air Fry at 400 F for 7 minutes.
    Then lower temperature and Air Fry the pork belly for 7 minutes more.
    *Use a long pair of tongs to move the meat. Do not put your hands inside the hot basket or appliance.
    When cooked, take out the lechon and place on a piece of parchment paper to remove excess grease..
    When ready to add to the Sinigang soup, cut the pork pieces in 2-inch cubes.

To cook Lechon in the oven (option 2)

  • Preheat the oven at 350 F.
    Marinate the entire slab of pork belly with the salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
    Place the whole pork belly on a large, shallow rimmed baking tray, lined with parchment paper.
    To roast, follow these guidelines:
    * (With bone) : 35 minutes for every pound.
    *(Boneless) : 30 minutes for every pound.
    When lechon pork is done, take it out of the oven. Place on another piece of parchment paper to remove excess grease.
    Chop the crisp pork into 2-inch cubes, with a large knife. Set aside till ready to add to the Sinigang soup.

To cook the Pork Sinigang:

  • In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. Saute the garlic and onions, till fragrant, in about 2 minutes.
    Pour the patis and the tamarind concentrate. Mix around.
    Add the pork ribs. Pour the broth.
    Add the radish and siling mahaba. Then add the sitaw (long beans) and the kangkong (water spinach).
    Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer till the pork ribs are done, for 35 to 40 minutes.

To assemble the Lechon Pork Sinigang:

  • Ladle the pork and vegetables sinigang in individual soup bowls. Add the crisp Lechon Pork cubes on the top, at table-side, just before serving, to maintain the crunch of the pork.
    Serve the soup piping-hot, with patis (fish sauce) as a side dipping condiment, and with steamed rice.

Cook's comments:

  • If a more meaty entree is preferred, you can also use pork shoulder, for the Sinigang, instead of the ribs. Adjust cooking time to about 40 minutes for this amount of pork. sinigang.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2757mg | Potassium: 108mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1008IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided  in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

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