Filipino Crispy Pata (Deep-Fried Pig's Feet)
Crispy Pata From the Philippines
When I was a child, one of my favorite dishes was crispy pata. I loved pork and I loved fried foods, and crispy pata combined both delights into a single dish.
Crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, this dish can be enjoyed either as a main dish or as a "pulutan," or snack food served with alcoholic beverages. Either way, it's traditionally served with a dipping sauce made of vinegar and soy sauce.
To make this dish, you can use either the front or hind legs. The hind legs are bigger.
- 1 pork leg, available at Asian stores
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- 1/3 cup sea salt
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- 9 cups water
- 5 cups oil, for frying
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the dipping sauce:
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- Boil the water in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the pig's feet, salt, peppercorns, garlic powder, and bay leaves. Simmer for about 1 hour or until the pork is tender.
- Drain the pork and allow to it dry over a rack for about 1 hour.
- Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper on all sides, and then refrigerate overnight.
- In a large, deep fryer or pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Wearing oven mitts and a face shield for protection, gently lower the pork leg into the oil until fully submerged. Be careful because the oil will splatter. Cover the pot with a splatter screen instead of a lid to prevent the water from condensing on the lid and causing more splatter.
- Deep-fry the pork for about 30 minutes until crispy and brown.
- Drain the pork over a rack, or on a plate lined with paper towels, to remove the excess oil.
- Serve with a dipping sauce of 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup vinegar.
- You can add vinegar to the water in step 2 if you like a slightly more sour flavor to the pork.
- You can use other seasonings if desired in step 2, such as onion powder, fish sauce, star anise, etc.
- You can use real garlic and onions instead of garlic and onion powder.
- For a spicier dipping sauce, add chili peppers.
- For a slightly crispier skin, you can dust the pig's feet with a little cornstarch just before frying.