Holiday Eats: Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata © bionicgrrrl on flickr

Lechon is perhaps the most festive of all Filipino dishes! But for people who don’t have access to lechon or find it beyond their budget, crispy pata is a great alternative. Just like the equally tasty lechon kawali, crispy pata has the same crunchy pork skin and flavorful meat, only the former is made from pork belly and the latter from pork shank (pata).

Crispy pata goes well with beer but is also great when consumed with rice, especially when dipped in lechon sauce. This dish is a no-brainer to prepare and even beginners are likely to produce wonderful results. One just needs to be extra careful while frying.

Ingredients

1 pork hock, cut at the joint
3 tbsp rock salt
1 dried bay leaf
1 tsp whole peppercorns
2-3 pounded cloves of garlic
1 medium-sized knob of ginger, sliced
1 medium-sized onion, quartered

Directions

  1. Wash the pork properly, making sure that no hairs are left on the skin. Wash the meat with hot water and then with cold water to help eliminate the oft-unpleasant odor.
  2. Cut two slices on both sides of the shank to let the meat absorb the flavor once it is boiled.
  3. Place the pork in 1 ½ liters of water in a deep pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove the scum that gathers on top of the water while it is boiling.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and boil until the meat is tender. To save time, use a pressure cooker and cook the pork for 30 minutes or until the meat and skin are tender but not falling off. Set aside and air dry.
  5. Transfer the pork to a tray lined with baking paper and place in a freezer overnight. No need to cover.
  6. Heat oil in a deep pan. Once the oil is hot enough, carefully immerse the frozen pork, cover the pan and deep fry it in medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the skin firms up and turns a medium brown color. Set aside to completely cool.
  7. Re-heat the oil and deep fry the pork this time in high heat. Do this for ten minutes while keeping the lid closed.
  8. Cool for about 15-20 minutes then chop to serving pieces.
  9. Serve with Mang Tomas lechon sauce or any preferred dip.

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