Chicharron, also called Chicharrones, is a popular dish made up of pork rinds and is popular in various cuisines such as, Spanish, Filipino, Brazilian, Cuban and Mexican. Apart form these cuisines; this dish is included in the traditional menu of Argentinian cuisine. Though, pork rind is the main ingredient of the chicharron, but it may be prepared with any cut of pork and other varieties of meat such as chicken, fish and beef. This dish is popular throughout the world with distinctive names and serving techniques also differ among the world cuisines.
Chicharron is a Spanish name of pork rinds. Though the origin of the dish is lying in the Andalusia state of Spain, but it has gained popularity throughout the world. Even the vegetarian versions have also been introduced in Mexico by a snack company named ‘Barcle’ in 1980’s. Since then many snack-food companies have launched the version of Chicharron.
Pork rind or pork skin is the main ingredient used for making chicharron. This pork rind if not similar to the usual salted pork skin available in the meat marts, but it is freshly cut from the pork belly to make this delectable dish. Chicharron recipe generally includes chicken, mutton or fish. Beef may also be used to make this popular dish. The highlight of the dish is the crunchy texture of the pork rinds. For seasoning the crunchy rinds, flavorings such as salt, pepper or 7-spice Japanese powder may be used. It is not obligatory to use only the skin of the pig, but rinds can be used with underlying meat. Chicken Chicharron recipe calls for marinade that includes lemon juice, rum, minced garlic, salt and paprika. Tabasco mix, flour and egg may also be used to cover the chicken pieces before frying. Beer is also a very common ingredient to be used to make pork dish.
Chicharron is essentially a deep-fried dish. Pork rinds, chicken or even mutton is seasoned or marinated before frying. Pork skin is often dehydrated before suing for the recipe. The dehydrated skin pieces are then seasoned and deep-fried in fat. For some variations, pork rind is boiled and cooked in its own juices and fat. Chicken is also marinated and fried in cooking oil. This version tastes similar to fried chicken.
Chicharron is a very popular dish in several cuisines; hence each and every cuisine has its own style of serving and eating this recipe
. • Venezuela – It is served as a road side food on the highways. This crispy snack is prepared with some meat underlying the skin.
• Peru – Chicharron is served as an appetizer along with red onion relish and fried yuca.
• Puerto Rico– Chicken version is quite popular and pork version is eaten usually by stuffing in ‘mofongo’, a dry plantain based dish.
• Philippines – The dish is served with chili vinegar, liver sauce or papaya pickle.
• Bolivia – In this region, chicharron is typically served on Sundays along with tomato salsa, llajwa and mote.
• USA – In the country, deep-fried puffed pork rinds are referred as chicharrones.
Usually pork is not considered a healthy meat in terms of calories; hence chicharron should be consumed in moderation. If in case the dish has to be prepared, then fat should be trimmed from the skin before cooking. Besides calories, pork is a good source of proteins and vitamins. It also contains traces of salt and abundance of phosphorous.