Friday, July 17, 2009

Paksiw Na Pata (Pork Knuckle Stew in Vinegar)

Next to “kasim” (pork shoulder), “pata” (pork knuckle), especially the front leg, is my favourite cut of pork. Both the meat and fat portion have distinct characteristics and texture making it very subtle and tasty once you are able to tenderize it. It could be prepared in many ways all of which qualifies for special occasions or fitted to be served to special guests. So it should not surprise if you will encounter many entrees here using “pata” in the future.

Let me start with “Paksiw” (Stew in Vinegar). There are so many variations of this dish. Every family has their own way of cooking it. Apart from vinegar, the common ingredient, the rest all depends on one’s preference. From the inclusion of soy sauce, sugar, banana blossom, garlic and to some extent banana, to the consistency of the sauce, differences can be noted from one “Paksiw” to another. Even in one particular region, there are several variations.

I grew up with a simple type of “Paksiw” that is soupy, no sugar, no soy sauce and no banana blossom. My mom prepares that sourly-salty type which is actually very delicious and lethal on rice. For myself however, I developed a type just the way I really like it to be, sweet-salty-sourly in a gravy-like sauce enhanced further by a small amount of lechon sauce and the earthy aroma of bay leaves. This is so good and is a signature dish of this blog. I would encourage you to try it and be the judge for yourself.

The main ingredient of course is one piece of “pata” (pork knuckle) about 1.3 kilos. You should thoroughly clean it by scraping the skin with the back of the knife, rinsing well and draining. For the spices and seasonings, we need 2 pcs onion, sliced, 8 gloves garlic, minced, 3 pcs bay leaves, 1 tsp whole pepper corn, 1 tsp salt or to taste and 2 tbsp fish sauce.

The controlling ingredients here are 1 pack (about ¾ cup) prepared lechon or liver sauce (home–made one is also perfect), ¾ cup white vinegar and 1 ½ tbsp brown sugar.

In a large heavy casserole pour the vinegar, add the onion and garlic and mash by hand. Tightly squeeze the garlic and onion in your palm until mushy and juice extracted is mixed with vinegar. Add the pork knuckle to the casserole and thoroughly slather the vinegar mixture to the meat. Add the whole pepper corn and bay leaves and let it boil on low heat.

Put the lid on, but once the liquid starts to boil, uncover it to let the vinegar vapour escapes. Let it simmer on low heat until the “pata” renders it own liquid to mix with the vinegar mixture. Continue simmering on low heat, just enough for the liquid to gurgle. Flip over the meat from time to time for even cooking. Add hot water if the liquid is drying up, one cup at a time. Simmer until the “pata” is all tender, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Remove the fork-tender meat from the remaining sauce and set aside. Strain the sauce to collect the soft garlic, onion and other spices and set aside. Scoop out the oil that will float on the sauce surface and likewise set aside for sautéing later.

In a thick pan, heat about 2 tbsp of oil collected from the sauce. Sauté strained onion, garlic, etc in the sizzling oil until aromatic. Add 2 tbsp of fish sauce and continue sautéing. Pour the sauce in the pan and let it boil on low heat. If the sauce seems not enough add about ½ to ¾ cup hot water. Add in the sugar and the lechon sauce and adjust the seasonings according to your liking.

Place back the “pata” in the pan with the sauce. Slather and continue simmering until everything is heated through again. Slightly stir from time to time, flipping the meat over and making sure not to burn the sauce.

When the sauce starts to thicken, it’s done. Arrange the meat on a large platter and pour over the sauce.

I have opted not use banana blossom for this recipe anymore. You may do so if you like. But right now, this “Paksiw Na Pata” is already a hit and I want to keep it that way. c“,)

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails