Its fiesta in the Philippines! Well, technically, the whole of May is the Fiesta Season. Since we cannot go home to Marinduque for May 31 celebration, my MIL thoughfully sent me the ones I would miss most (good stuff – Marinduque Kare Kare (kind of like dinuguan but made with innards), about 4 Pata from the pig sacrifice, special leche flan, some lechetin, and the star of this blog post, which is sitsaron. Sitsaron or chicharon is a crackling made from pork (usually skin). Its a very fatty, guilt laden food. Eat at your own risk.
What my MIL sent me looks like a mass of brains at first glance. At first I thought it was sitsarong bulaklak. But upon further research, it turned out to be trapilya or innards. This is what real sitsarong bulaklak looks like.
They came pre cleaned and pre cooked so all I really had to do was fry them. But if you’re doing one yourself, here is what you should do.
First clean it thoroughly in running water. You have to turn it over and scrape the insides. If you dont clean it properly, it will turn out bitter. Boil it for about two hours in water, vinegar, black pepper, laurel and lots of salt. Drain it thoroughly, making sure that its really dry before you put it in very hot oil. This is to avoid a battle of splatter and exploding oil in your kitchen.
Transfer to strainer when its brownish or golden. It should be crispy but mine is a bit chewy. Prepare vinegar, sili, and a bit more salt for dipping. Yummm!