Crispy Pata

See the convection oven/turbo broiler version of the crispy pata recipe. Crispy PataIt’s just deep-fried pork leg, how can that be so hard to cook? Nothing difficult about cooking crispy pata. But one can have good crispy pata or terrible crispy pata. Who wants the latter, right? Pata is the front or hind leg of the pig. In the Philippines, that means the leg AND the trotters (knuckles). Crispy pata means deep fried pata with a crunchy rind and soft and moist meat inside. The first thing to remember is that the best pata for this dish is that of a young pig. The more mature the pig, the thicker and tougher the rind. The layer of fat will also be thicker. Second, frying is not the only step in cooking this dish–the pata has to be boiled to tenderness prior to deep-frying. Third, we have to separate the myth from the truth.

According to the oldies, one has to drip-dry the pata after boiling and then allow it to air-dry for a day prior to deep-frying. That’s not true. For as long as you drain, cool and, preferably, chill the boiled pata, there’s no reason why you can’t boil and fry it on the same day. That pata you see in the photo was taken out of the freezer at 5.00 p.m., pressure-cooked without thawing completely, drained and cooled, and fried at 7.30 p.m. We finished dinner about thirty minutes ago.

Ingredients :

1 pork pata (preferably the front), about 700 g. in weight
1 whole garlic
1 whole onion
8 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
3-4 c. of cooking oil

how to :

Clean the pata. Scrape the skin with a knife. Use a kitchen torch or a cigarette lighter to burn any remaining hair. Don’t use a candle–the black smoke will turn the pork rind dark.

Place the pata is a casserole and cover with water. Add the whole garlic, onion, peppercorns and bay leaf. Season with plenty of salt. Set over high heat and bring to a boil, skimming off scum as it rises. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, or until tender. Alternatively, pressure-cook for 30 to 45 minutes from the time the valve starts to turn.

Remove the pata from the broth, draining well. Cool. If you have the time, wrap in foil of cling film and place in the freezer for thirty minutes.

Heat the cooking oil in a wok or deep fryer until it starts to smoke. Gently lower the pata in the hot oil. The oil will spatter, no doubt about that. It is best to immediately cover the wok or fryer. Make sure that the cover has a steam valve to allow the hot steam to escape and to prevent it from condensing back into the oil. Cook the pata until the rind is puffed and golden. My clue is that when the spattering weakens, the pata is ready.

Serve with ensaladang talong (eggplant salad) or atsara (pickled green papaya).


  1. felixberto says

    me too okz. i almost lost a tooth trying to take a bite off my pata. it felt like a piece of stone i can use for the intifada but i will keep trying.

  2. joseph says

    O.K. I’ll try that.. my main problem over here at my place is they only sell pork every day only on Sunday in the chinese market..these are just some of those common problems over here… living in a muslim country.. they don’t eat nor promote port at all.. specially this year..”year of the pig” sigh………..