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Place of origin
Region or state
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Andalucia, Latin America
Chicharrón (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃitʃaˈron], Portuguese: Torresmo [tuˈʁeʒmu], Filipino: chicharon, Chamorro: chachalon) is a dish generally made of fried pork rinds; it is sometimes made from chicken, mutton, or beef.
Chicharrón is popular in Andalucia, Spain, and in Latin America and other countries with Spanish influence. It is part of the traditional cuisines of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (where it is called torresmo), Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and others. The singular form, chicharrón, is also used as a mass noun, especially in Filipino, in which stand-alone plurals do not exist. They are usually made with different cuts of pork, but sometimes are made with mutton, or with beef in Argentina. In Costa Rica, they are usually made from pork ribs or similar cuts; rinds are rarely used.
The pork rind type is the skin of the pork after it has been seasoned and deep fried. In Mexico, they are eaten in a taco or gordita with salsa verde. In Latin America, they are eaten alone as a snack, with cachapas, as a stuffing in arepas or Salvadoran pupusas, or as the meat portion of various stews and soups.
Bolivia – Chicharrón is made out of pork ribs seasoned with garlic, oregano and lemon. It is boiled then cooked in its own fat, adding beer or chicha to the pot for more flavor. Pork chicharrón is normally served only on Sundays and is eaten with llajwa, a tomato salsa, and mote, a type of corn. There are other variations of chicharrón made with chicken and fish.
Colombia – Chicharrón is made from deep fried pig skin with pork, though it can also be made from chicken skin. In the Caribbean Coast it is eaten along with bollo de yuca, bollo limpio or boiled yuca at breakfast at home or at any time of the day at restaurants. It is eaten chopped as a stuffing in arepas. In Córdoba it is also prepared in sancocho. It is also part of bandeja paisa, a typical dish of Antioquia.
Chile – Chicharrónes are made of meat fat, and are typically served with home-made bread.
Costa Rica – Chicharrónes are made by frying pork (usually rib) in fat and are associated with several dishes. Most Ticos usually eat them with lime juice (but preferably rangpur) and fried yuca accompanied by tortillas.
Dominican Republic – Chicharrones, especially chicken chicharrón (also known as pica-pollo), are usually eaten with tostones. The way to prepare it is by washing and drying chicken and cutting it into small pieces, which are seasoned with a mix of lemon juice and salt. The batter is made from flour, pepper, paprika and salt in plastic bag, in which the seasoned meat is then placed and shaken. Pieces are deep-fried (without removing excess flour) until crisp and golden.
Guatemala - A simple pleasure in Guatemalan cuisine is eating chicarron with tortilla, some salt, and maybe a pickled Jalapeño pepper. Also known as Carnitas in Guatemala, these refer to a meatier part of the pork rind. Where as Chicharron is, strictly speaking, more the skin part of the pig, Carnitas denotes a skin with some meat as well.
Mexico – Snack-food company Barcel has commercialized a vegetarian version with chile and lime flavorings since the 1980s. Chicharrón de Puerco and chicharrón de cerdo are distributed by many salty snack companies in Mexico.
Peru – Chicharrón in Perú, is made using what is called "country style pork rib" in the US. The rind is not used at all. The meat is boiled with seasonings and spices till no water remains, and then fried in its own fat. It is often served as a breakfast/brunch food on a baguette with a relish made of red onion and lime juice. Chicharrones can be eaten as an appetizer or snack, and the chicken variant can taste like fried chicken found in the United States. Sides include a kind of red onion relish, fried yuca, and other regional variants. Chicharrones can also be prepared with fish rather than pork.
Philippines – Chicharon is ubiquitous as it is a well-loved snack, and may be bought anywhere, from large supermarket chains to sari-sari stores, and even from vendors on foot. It is popular as pulutan or finger food, to be eaten while consuming alcoholic beverages. It is also used as a topping on many native vegetable and noodle dishes. Pork chicharon is prepared by deep-frying dried pork rind with a little salt. It may be dipped in coconut vinegar spiced with soy sauce, chopped garlic and labuyo, or eaten with other condiments like bagoong, lechon liver sauce, or atchara. Aside from pork rind, chicken skin may also be made into chicharong manok, whereas chicharong bulaklak—literally 'flower chicharrón', named for its distinctive shape—is made from pig intestines. Tuna skin chicharon is also marketed as a healthier variation.
Puerto Rico – Chicharrones de pollo is popular around the island . Chicken is marinated in dark rum, lemon zest, Tabasco, ginger, bay leaves, salt, and cracked fresh garlic over night. The chicken is then tossed in flour, rice flour and tapioca flour that has been seasoned with adobo seco and paprika. Pork chicharrón is usually mashed and stuffed into mofongo.
United States – Chicharrón are usually made from pig skin. They are usually sold in plastic bags as a snack food item and generically referred to as "pork rinds." They are made in a two-step process: the pork skin is first rendered and dried, and then fried and puffed. In New Mexico, the term is often taken to mean just fried pork fat, sometimes with incidental bits of lean meat.
Venezuela – In central Venezuela, chicharrones are commonly sold alongside main highways as snacks. The recipe usually produces crispy sizeable portions of pork skin with the underlying meat. The cueritos type are also made with pork skin and marinated in vinegar instead of deep fried. They are eaten as a snack.