Crispy Pata (Crispy Pork Leg)

It’s just deep-fried pork leg, how can that be so hard to cook? Nothing difficult about cooking crispy pata. But one can have good crispy pata or terrible crispy pata. Who wants the latter, right?

Pata is the front or hind leg of the pig. In the Philippines, that means the leg AND the trotters (knuckles). Crispy pata means deep fried pata with a crunchy rind and soft and moist meat inside.

The first thing to remember is that the best pata for this dish is that of a young pig. The more mature the pig, the thicker and tougher the rind. The layer of fat will also be thicker. Second, frying is not the only step in cooking this dish–the pata has to be boiled to tenderness prior to deep-frying. Third, we have to separate the myth from the truth.

According to the oldies, one has to drip-dry the pata after boiling and then allow it to air-dry for a day prior to deep-frying. That’s not true. For as long as you drain, cool and, preferably, chill the boiled pata, there’s no reason why you can’t boil and fry it on the same day. That pata you see in the photo was taken out of the freezer at 5.00 p.m., pressure-cooked without thawing completely, drained and cooled, and fried at 7.30 p.m. We finished dinner about thirty minutes ago.

Ingredients :

· 1 pork pata (pork leg), wash well
· 1 cup soda pop (Sprite or 7-up)
· water, for boiling
· coarse sea salt
· 1 tsp. peppercorns
· 5 cloves garlic, crushed
· 2 bay leaves
· 1 tbsp. soy sauce
· 2 tsp. baking soda
· oil, for frying

(Cooking Conversion Chart)

Cooking Procedures :

1. Clean pork pata. Slit skin (3-5 slits on each side) without cutting the bone.

2. Place pork pata in a big pot. Add soda pop and water enough to cover the pork.

3. Season with plenty of salt. Add peppercorns, crushed garlic, bay leaves and soy sauce.

4. Covered and boil over high heat. Remove all the resulting scum that will rise to the top of the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for about an hour or until pork pata meat is tender (make sure that meat is not too tender).

5. About 15 minutes of simmering, add baking soda (to soften the meat faster) and continue cooking.

6. Drain pork pata when done. Let sit for a while so the juices settle. Dry with paper towels.

7. Deep-fry pata until golden brown and blisters appear on skin. Drain on paper towels.

8. Slice meat and transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot with sauce for dipping.

9. Make sauce by combining soy sauce and white vinegar. You may add garlic, onion and chili pepper. Depends to your liking. Enjoy your crispy pata. !

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