A recent survey asking Filipinos what they thought the national dish of the Philippines should be, revealed that 90% of respondents voted for crispy pata. While adobo is probably the first dish you learn how to cook, the crispy pata was voted all time favorite.
Well, before I am asked to reveal the survey methodology, I have to admit that the survey was done at my dining table, while we were feasting on crispy pata that I made for one Sunday lunch.
Crispy Pata is a deep fried pork leg which is usually served with a soy/vinegar dipping sauce or sometimes a liver sauce. The pork leg is first simmered until tender and then dried at least overnight. The final step is the frying which really requires (in my opinion) a deep fat fryer. Some recipes call for the pork leg to be fried sometimes as much as three times. The process of simmering the meat and then frying ensures crispy crackling on the outside yet very tender meat. The recipe below is a simplified version but delicious nevertheless!
This recipe serves 8 people.
- 3 pork legs, singed to remove any hair
- 1/4 cup fish sauce (patis)
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 whole peppercorns
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- Oil for deep frying
- Fill a pot with water and the pork legs. Bring to a boil and remove any scum that floats to the top.
- Drain the pot and fill anew with water and the pork legs.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, bring down the heat and simmer for around 2 hours until tender.
- Remove the pork from the heat and cool.
- Place the pork in a place and cover loosely with foil and leave in the refrigerator at least overnight to allow the pork to dry out (this is essential to get the crispy skin).
- Just before serving score the pork legs with a sharp knife.
- Heat the oil to 190C and carefully lower the pork legs into the oil.
- Fry until crispy, around 10 minutes.
- Serve with either the soy/vinegar dipping sauce or lechon sauce and PLENTY OF RICE!
Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce
Mix equal quantities soy sauce and white vinegar (preferably a Filipino brand like Datu Puti) and add a crushed garlic or a chilli.