Saturday, November 9, 2013

Paksiw na Pata, Filipino style

Paksiw is a favorite "seasoning mix" of mine but pata (pork leg or hock in English) as a meat part is definitely not one that I prefer.  For one thing, it has too much skin/fat, hence less meat, and it takes a LONG, LONG time to cook until tenderized.  But for some unknown reason, I got some while I was at the supermarket with lola a couple of weeks ago.

I usually make the Chinese style Paksiw, using chunks of pork belly or pork shoulder but this time, however, I wanted to try a different recipe... and the pressure cooker (which is so rarely used!)... since I only had about an hour to cook - to simmer the dish on the stovetop would take a couple of hours!

I decided to follow a recipe found in a cookbook given to me - Our Family Table (Heirloom Recipes & Others, compiled and edited by Carolina Guevarra) - although I haven't seen this for sale in bookstores.

Anyway, here is my dish...

While my basis for this dish was the original recipe found in the book, I found that in order to adapt the recipe to the pressure cooker, I had to make a few changes, the most crucial of which was to change the proportion of the liquids, since I had to have enough liquid to cover most of the meat (I also like a saucier dish!).  Anyway, here is what I did -

First thing is to have a whole piece of pork pata (front part preferred) sliced into pieces (and I discarded the "hoof" part).  Second thing is to clean and parboil the pata.

Then I placed the pata, together with the following in the pressure cooker.

1 cup native vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 pieces bay leaves
about 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 tablespoons smashed peppercorns (not ground pepper)
1 whole bulb of garlic, smashed
a lot of banana blossoms, knotted
about 1 to 2 cups water

A note for the water, I initially added a cup but it seemed too little to cover the meat pieces so I added half a cup more.

Another note regarding the marjoram - the recipe specified oregano and I thought I had some in my spice cupboard but I couldn't find it so I used marjoram instead.

Anyway, place the cover on the pressure cooker and pressure cook 15 to 20 minutes (after the cooker begins to whistle).  Let the pressure go down and open the pot.  Check if the pork pata is cooked/soft then check seasonings.

I had to adjust mine by adding a couple tablespoons more soy sauce (because I use a less salty, light soy sauce).

Final note - I found other recipes in other cookbooks where the sugar is a whole lot more than 2 tablespoons.  But while I wanted a hint of sweetness, I did not want an overly sweet dish!

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