Reminder: This is not for everyone. Definitely not for those who avoid animal fat due to medical condition or special dietary restrictions. Not for those who do not eat lard due to religious laws that forbid the consumption of pork especially its fatty tissues. This involves an ingredient with a nutritional value of 39g saturated fat, 45g monounsaturated fat and 11g polyunsaturated fat for every 100g. Finally, this is sinfully delicious and potently addictive. Consider that you’ve been warned. :-)
I am referring to “rebosado” or “rebosadong taba ng baboy”, a regional dish from the provinces of Batangas and Quezon (Philippines) which our clan has been preparing and serving in almost every major family gathering or event as one of the special family dishes. The dish is actually like the “camaron rebosado” except that we are using small pieces of pork fat, particularly fatback, in lieu of the shelled shrimp.
Fatback is a cut of meat which consists of the adipose tissue layer or the subcutaneous fat under the skin or rind of the back of the pig. While fatback is often rendered to make a high quality lard, it is also an important ingredient in traditional sausage making and accompaniment to many meat dishes and vegetable stews.
In various cuisines all over the world, fatback with the rind or skin is commonly deep-fried crisp to make the dish called “chicharon” in the Philippines, fried pork rinds or cracklings in America and “chicharron” in Spain and Mexico. It is also commonly prepared as slab of fatback bacon which is widely eaten in Europe where it is known as “lardo” in Italy, “salo” in Ukraine and Russia, “szalonna” in Hungary and “rückenspeck” in Germany.
Like cracklings, “rebosado” involves deep-frying process where much of the lard will render as oil and eventually separate or be removed from the resulting dish. To cook “rebosado” which is basically a deep-fried battered fatback, we need about 800 grams or about 2 lbs of fatback.
Remove the skin of the fat and cut it up into small pieces, about ¼ inch thick by 1 inch wide by 2 inches long size. Wash several times and thoroughly drain.
The other ingredients needed to season and coat the fish are: ½ cup cornstarch, 2 eggs, slightly beaten, 1 pc “calamansi”, juice extracted, 1 tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp salt and 1 stalk celery or flat leaf parsley, finely minced. In addition, about 1 cup of vegetable oil for deep-frying is required.
In a deep mixing bowl, dump the drained fatback and add all the remaining ingredients. Mix everything until the fatback is coated with a thick batter. You can adjust the ingredients provided above. The idea is to have a well seasoned and rich batter that will fully coat all the fatback pieces.
In a medium, deep and heavy bottomed pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high flame until hot but not smoking. Fry the battered fatback in batches. When slightly browned and crisp, flip over to cook the underside.
Continue cooking in batches until all is deep-fried. Drain excess oil from the cooked “rebosado” using paper towels. Too much oil is not good for your health. :-)
Transfer the dish in a medium plate and serve warm along with a sweet and sour dipping sauce or any other dipping sauces that you like. Some, like me and my kids, prefer to eat it on its own along with hot steamed rice.
This crunchy dish may not appeal to everyone but it’s utterly yummy. Eat it in moderation though. Prepare it only once in a while. If you have an active lifestyle and regularly exercising, a couple of servings should still be fine. Enjoy! c“,)