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Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Halang Halang - Crocodile Curry

Chef Jose Lorenzo Morales is the S.Pellegrino Young Chef for the Pacific Region.

28 November, 2020
Average: 4.3 (35 votes)

serves for


total time

2 HR 0 MIN


Crocodile Or any white Flesh protein that you prefer
300 g
Pink pepper
3 g
10 g
5 g
Onion oil
10 ml
Brine Solution
500 ml
25 g
Caster sugar
25 g
White flesh Fumet
White flesh trimmings
500 g
Pepper Berry Bark , Leaves, and Berries
100 g
75 g
Rice vinegar
50 ml
Wild garlic
100 g
Tomato broth
Cherry tomatoes
250 g
Vegetable oil
10 ml
5 stems
Anatto oil
Atsuete seeds
50 g
Curry leaves
10 g
Black peppercorns
5 g
Coriander seeds
5 g
20 g
5 g
10 g
Chili pepper
5 g
1 pc
Pepper berries
5 g
7 g
7 g
toasted rice
50 g
30 g
40 g, stems and leaves

This dish is a type of Filipino curry called 'Halang Halang' which uses Crocodile, a very satisfying white meat. The meat is poached with foraged pink pepper berries and served with a 'frappe' textured sauce of roasted turmeric, coconut milk infused with toasted rice, and other spices. The tea of roasted tomatoes helps balance things out along with minor components such as pearls that have been bloomed in fish sauce and sumac. On the side, you have most of the trimmings of the protein rubbed with Filipino flavours and fired over paperbark, coconut wood chips, and pink berry leaves.

While there is no traditional curry in the Philippines, in the south of the islands there are many variations of dishes that recall curry flavours. This dish is an interpretation of a Filipino curry, with a few tweaks here and there.

Step 01

Clean the Crocodile Meat

Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Clean the crocodile meat and trim off all the silver skin. Prepare a brine by heating 50ml of the water until boiling. Mix in the sugar and salt, and stir until all granules are dissolved. Pour the hot solution over 350 ml of water and add ice. Soak the protein with brine and let it rest for 20-30 min, then rinse the meat and lay on a dry cloth to keep dry.

Step 02

Meat Trimming

Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

For the meat trimming, set aside and make a marinade paste with pepper berries, garlic, and lemongrass.

Step 03

Trimmings on a Stick

Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Impale the trimmings on a stick, you can use the bark of the pepper berries or you may simply use a bbq stick (make sure to soak the sticks 1 hr prior to grilling).

Step 04


Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Prepare 1 litre of iced water and season with 3% salt. Prepare 2 pots of boiling water worth about 2 litres of water. One pot should be seasoned with 3% salt. Place all bones and trimmings into it for 10 mins to clean, and discharge all unwanted residuals

Rinse in cold water. Turn off the heat on the first pot and prepare to blanch the trimmings and bones for at least 3-5 mins.

Once all the scum has risen, take out the bones and trimmings and soak in cold water. Transfer to a boiling pot and add all the elements except the chilli leaves, wild garlic stems and pepper berry.

After 20 mins, turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients, and steep for 30 mins. Strain all the liquid out and prepare on the side to season with the sauce.

Do not throw away the trimmings. They can be rinsed and left to be disposed of in the compost.

Step 05


Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Tomato Broth

Heat up a pan and prepare olive oil on the side. Prepare a tray with baking paper and salt.

Prepare a chopping board and a tray with an offset spatula or spoon.

Trim the tomatoes, and cut into 3 parts lengthwise.

Scrape off the seeds and keep for the next step, meanwhile sear the tomatoes on both sides until browned.

Lay on the tray and leave in the oven for 6 hrs at 55 C at high-fan speed settings

After, prepare basil stems in a bowl with any other trimmings that you have at home to be included to add more character to the broth. Add the dried tomatoes to the bowl.

Boil the water, pour over the ingredients and cover. Leave this for 30 mins to extract all the essences from the tomatoes and season with salt and a pinch of sugar.

keep all the bloomed tomatoes and dice, place in a container ready for garnishing.

Step 06

Pearl Fish Sauce

Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Boil a pot of water.

Add pearls and season with fish sauce for 15 minutes.

Strain and season with sumac.

Finish with onion oil and keep in a container ready for garnish.

Step 07


Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Anatto Oil

Add all ingredients in a small pot.

Put in the oven at 100 C for 1 hour.

Strain all the oils and leave in a container.

Step 08


Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Break down the coconuts. Crack them in the middle all around until the juice begins to leak out.

Extract the juice over a strainer and cheesecloth.

Rinse the coconuts, and begin carving out the pulp or meat by using a thin spoon, insert the spoon at a 45-degree angle pointing outwards to insert the spoon in between the meat and the shell.

Try to stay on the sides of the shell until you get to the end of the coconut. When you extract all the pulp, clean off all the remaining skin with a peeler. Clean out all the pulp and start grating with a grater.

Prepare with the fumet you made earlier. Make sure it is hot and pour it over the coconut meat and cover for 20 mins. Prepare a bowl with a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Place the coconut meat with fumet over the cloth and squeeze out the milk from the coconut.

Step 09

coconut water

Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Repeat the process twice and store the liquid in the fridge until chilled. Later we will be separating the cream from the milk.

Heat up a pan with a touch of oil, then start sautéing the ingredients except for the basil and coriander. Take out the coconut liquid from the fridge and separate the top part from the bottom part. The solidified part will be the coconut cream.

When the ingredients begin to release their aroma, deglaze this with the coconut milk and let it simmer for 5 mins.

Strain and finish with coconut cream. Add salt.

Use a whisk and aerate this until it gets lightly foamy and your sauce will be ready for plating the dish.

Step 10


Courtesy of chef Jose Lorenzo Morales

Light the coals for grilling. Warm-up some of the fumet with pepper leaves, and season the blanching liquid with 3% salt and keep the temperature of water at a low.

Keep sauce of turmeric and tomato tea warm.

Prepare all garnishes ready on a tray, make sure that it is moist and clean.

When your coals have begun to glow white-hot you are ready to grill the crocodile trimmings.

Make sure not to cook it through. Just caramelise the exterior of the meat and finish it in the oven at 60 C.

Begin to blanch the meat at 43 C for 3 mins, and continuously baste this with the liquid.

Let the proteins rest on a tray and lightly season with salt. Warm-up your plate.

Season the bbq crocodile with shavings of macadamia, grate the grilled coconut meat, and top with diced tomatoes and cabbage blossoms.

Place the blanched crocodile on the left side of the plate leaving space for the tea on the leaf and turmeric frappe on the right.

Garnish the crocodile with the wild garlic blossoms and stems including the soft tips of the pepper berry leaves. Add a half teaspoon of tapioca pearls.

Begin to pour the turmeric frappe and the tomato tea.


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