Tag Archives: Philippine cuisine

#326 Crispy Pata

In Catholic Philippines, Crispy Pata is a favourite pork delicacy. Pata, Spanish for leg, is the front or hind leg of the pig. In the Philippines, Crispy Pata also includes the leg and pig knuckles. A good Crispy Pata is deep fried pata with a crunchy rind and a soft, moist meat inside.

Filipino cooks recommend 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 (watch out for the calorie and cholesterol counts!). Frying is also not the only step in cooking this dish–the pata has to be boiled to tenderness prior to deep-frying.

Crispy pata is often served in festive occasions and family events. During family gatherings, this a classic dish to serve with rounds of beer, and other Filipino side dishes.

Long live Filipino cuisine!

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#321 Escabeche

Escabeche or the Philippine variant of escabeche is similar to the typical Mediterranean dish of poached or fried fish that is marinated in an acidic mixture before serving.

The Pinoy escabeche is derived from Spanish dish which is also common in the former Spanish colonies in America. In the Philippines meaty white fish is often used for this dish which has sliced carrots, onions, red bell peppers, and a vinegar marinade as the chief ingredients.

Escabeche has become a classic in the Philippine dinner table with various variations depending on place or availability of ingredients. But the typical sweet-sour taste remains, although the vegetable garnishing can range or differ depending on the creativity of the cook. From tilapia to Lapu-Lapu fish, a range of meaty white fish is suited for this easy-to-cook but flavourful dish. The fish may or may not be deboned, but increasingly using boneless or the fish filet version of escabeche has gained popularity.

 Bon appétit!

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#229 Kinilaw

Kinilaw (sour-cooking raw ingredients ) in Philippine cuisine takes fish and other sea creatures, meat, fruits or vegetables- all at state- of- the- art freshness – and treats them equally, “sour-cooking” them in vinegar or other souring agents, flavoring them with the proper combination of condiments.

The kinilaw moment is that instant when the raw fish (or other seafood, or meat) meets the vinegar or other souring agent, and transformation begins from the raw state. In cooking vegetables, there is a spectrum of textural change: from the hardness of the raw, to the limpness of the overcooked. The perfect moment is somewhere along the line, at the point when the vegetable, e.g. ampalaya (bitter melon) retains the crispness of the raw, but acquires the softness of the cooked without being either hard or limp.

With kinilaw, the perfect moment is marked visually by a change from translucence towards, but without reaching, opacity. Texturally, it is a moment when the fish or shrimp retains the firm softness of the raw, but reaches a new state of being that has been called niluto sa asim – “cooked”, or more accurately transformed, in sourness. (From Kinilaw: a Philippine Cuisine of Freshness’ – by Edilberto N. Alegre & Doreen G. Fernandez 1991

Bon appétit!

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