Crispy Pata: A Guide to Making This Extraordinary Filipino Dish
Crispy pata is a hind leg part of a pig simmered with seasonings until tender, chilled in the refrigerator overnight, and deep-fried until crisp golden brown. This delicious dish is usually served during special occasions.
Known as the dish that is crispy on the outside yet juicy on the inside, crispy pata is one of the favorite Filipino dishes of all time. In this rendition of the popular Filipino main dish, we choose to add a little water to the hot oil toward the end of frying to achieve the desired crackling texture. Frying the pata sounds simple, but it’s actually dangerous as oil may splash out of the frying pan, so take extra precaution.
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How to Make Crispy Pata
- 1 whole pork leg
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) of 7-up or Sprite
- 6 cups + ¼ cup water
- 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- ⅓ cup salt
- 4 cups oil
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons flour
Ingredients for the Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup vinegar
- ¼ soy sauce
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 Thai chili peppers, peeled and minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Using a knife, scrape any dirt or stray hairs on pork leg and cut off nails.
- Put the leg in a large pot over medium heat, pour in vinegar, 7-up, 6 cups of the water, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that may accumulate on top. Lower heat, cover, and then simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. If the meat is drying before it is fully cooked, add more water in 1 cup increments.
- Thoroughly drain the pork leg, remove the spices that may have stuck to the leg. Place on a rack and let it dry uncovered, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight. Before frying, rub the outside skin with fish sauce and liberally sprinkle with flour.
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat about 4 to 5 cups of oil. Gently add pork leg and deep-fry, turning as needed, until golden. Turn off heat and carefully pour the remaining ¼ cup of the water onto the pork (this will further crisp the skin). Remove from heat and drain on a rack set over a baking sheet. Serve hot with dipping sauce.
- In a small bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, shallots, garlic, chili peppers, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Once the crispy pata and the dipping sauce are ready, you can serve it to your family and friends. Although often cooked during special occasions, crispy pata is also present during ordinary gatherings or simple dinner. It doesn’t really matter when it is served on the table, it will still make a perfect dish. Time to try it for yourself.
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