"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crispy Pata, the Healthier Way

How do you cook crispy pata with less guilt? Use the oven!

No wasted gallons of cooking oil...no need for oversized pots....no splatters!

And you end up with crispy pata that has the crackled look on the skin, which has dripped some of its melted fat onto the pan it sits on (and you can even use the drippings to make pork gravy later)...

How to make crispy pata the healthier way?

This was a eureka moment for us... We were celebrating my friend Fe's birthday party last Saturday. As I said in my previous post, I brought pandan chiffon cake (which Fe and her son love!) Cecilia brought a big chunk of pork pata that she had been cooking since 3:30 am and still had not achieved the crunchy skin stage (we know about the skin being smooth and crunchy on traditional lechon...that's what we wanted to achieve). When we arrived at Fe's house, she was still out WORKING! But she was coming home soon, so we started to fiddle with her oven. We really did not know how to set the digital controls...We placed the pan on the lower third of the oven.

When she came back, we cooked rice...then she noticed the lechon...and that the oven was warm but not baking at that time she checked (off, in other words!). Cecilia went on to say, "Hindi pa malutong yung balat eh. Pano ba gamitin yang oven mo?" Fe checked, and said, "I-broil na lang natin." So she set her oven to broil.

After 5 minutes we took a look and saw what you see in the pictures on the slideshow above.

I then realized...the traditional way to cook chicharon or lechon kawali or crispy pata was to boil the pork/rind first in some mixture of water, vinegar and spices, then dry, then deep-fry. This accidental discovery was the short cut method in that you cook the pork first by roasting for about 3 hours to fully cook it (provided you brined the pork or flavored it somehow with spices prior, or placed spices like lemongrass, bay leaf, peppercorn, etc. underneath the roast while roasting, along with a sprinkle of garlic salt on the skin), then broil to create the crackled effect on the skin. (Did I not post about chicken skin chicharon, where I said I turn it to chicharon by using my nuwave to broil/bake the pre-cooked chicken skin? I also posted about smaller pork roast using the rotisserie after cooking/boiling and letting dry the chunk of pork pata.)

We wolfed down this roast in less than 30 minutes...nagpipigil pa so everyone (including our kids) can have his/her share! The thing was, we did not have Sarsa ni Mang Tomas! So we just made our own alternative dip of vinegar with chili, soy sauce, salt and pepper.

The cut that Cecilia brought had no skin underneath, but if you will try this method using pork pata with skin all around, I suggest that once the "cooking" phase is done and you are ready to broil the pata, use a wire rack to elevate the pata so the underside is open to hot air and is not soaked in juices, then after crisping the top, rotate so you crisp the bottom also (have not tried this, but it is an idea.)

Try it yourself! You won't regret it!


  1. Manang, this reminds me of how we did crispy pata with the Turbo Broiler when I was younger. I don't know about boiling the pork with vinegar and spices, but our cook would pressure cook it first and then broil it in the Turbo Broiler. Salt was definitely added in the process because the skin was salty.

    This really looks good, something to make during filipino gatherings in the future. Always enjoy your posts.

  2. hi geri,
    now that you mentioned it, if I remember it right, my Nanay also used turbo broiler pang lechon ng belly or pata or ulo...
    Pero ala akong turbo...I think that would have been the best because of blowing hot air...

  3. you can also do this method in lechon kawali, I've been cooking my lechon kawali this wayfor quite a while now.

  4. Hi Anonymous,
    Now that you mentioned it, I actually made this post initially titled as "Lechon kawali -- Not!" but as I was reading the post I made, I realized it was pata, not pork belly (the usual lechon kawali part used), so I totally changed my post and title. Haha! Then I thought I should make some oven-roasted lechon kawali in the near future. Problem is, all my belly slabs are cured like bacon...

  5. Hmmm, its Saturday today so time to head to the Filipino market and buy the choice cut! At mura lang dito ang turbo $50 lang sa 99 ranch market (Asian) at the Seafood City.

    Gusto kong sawsawan yung vinegar at maraming garlic!

  6. Hi Ebie and Rochelle!

    Ebie, buti me turbo dyan...mura pa! Paborito ko rin vinegar and garlic, pang-alis suya sa taba.

  7. I love crispy pata and someday I will make it for myself, especially since you've shown how easy it can be with this recipe. I also like paksiw na pata . . . but I'm making myself so hungry thinking about it!

  8. we always use the ever handy-dandy turbo broiler when we cook crispy pata... hay, how I'll wish Cripy Pata since I'm becoming a vegetarian already... but thanks for the post!!! I heart your blog (btw)! :)

  9. Hi Anonymous,
    My nanay also used turbo broiler from lechon to pandesal when we were still in the Philippines.
    So you are gonna be a vegan!...Maybe you can blog about your vegetarian dishes :)

  10. My dearest M, please advice how long do I have to pressure cook a large pata. I'll add salt, pepper, othr spices to the water in for pressure cooker, but how much vinegar? I know I have to let it drip & almost "dry" before I cook in the oven. Also, what's temp, & how much longer to cook. then I'll follow your advice to put in the 'broil' to get skin crispy. Thanks. My email is suendiamonds888@yahoo.com

  11. Hi Manang! Since last night when I was looking for an ensaymada recipe, I cannot stop browsing in your blog. You're an amazing cook! Keep it up & God bless!

  12. Dear Manang,
    Maraming maraming salamat po for all the recipes you've shared.Been following your blogs and searched recipes that I craved. One of my fav is your super soft ensaymada, spanish bread and many more (parang lahat yata eh.!)Your awesome!Ingat po and God Bless.Recommended (5 star)your site to my Filipino friends.


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