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Undoubtedly one of the most popular pork cuts in Filipino cuisine, there’s nothing you can’t do with a good piece of ham hock, or pata. It has a delicious amount of skin and fat. This cut of pork, when cooked perfectly, can be one of the most indulgent parts of the pig you’ll ever have. Pata is hearty and versatile, with so many different ways you can enjoy it. However, for beginner chefs, the sight of this portion of meat may seem rather intimidating. Worry not; one of the most popular ways you can cook pata also happens to be one of the easiest. That’s right — we’re talking about Filipino-Chinese classic, pata tim!
Pata tim is definitely a prime example of a go to dish Filipinos can make when faced with a great cut of meat. This dish makes use of pork so tender it dissolves on your tongue, and unleashing a complex but altogether unforgettable flavor. From sweet to salty, umami to tangy, pata tim definitely has it all! It’s that unmistakably delicious sauce truly catapults pata tim heads and shoulders above the rest.
Pata Tim vs. Humba
Filipino-Chinese cuisine is rich in pork dishes that are just absolute savory goodness. Apart from pata tim, humba is an example of such a dish that takes everything Chinese immigrants taught us regarding food, while also providing a spin that is uniquely Pinoy. Humba is a pork dish that makes use of similar spices and seasonings. While the main rendition of this dish uses pork belly, other recipes call for the use of other cuts of meat, like ham hock. From soy sauce to sugar to star anise and bay leaves, a perusal of humba’s ingredient list will have you thinking about how alike these two dishes are.
However, it’s humba’s other ingredients that provide a notable difference from pata tim! For one, the former makes use of salted black beans, or tausi, which add a new layer of saltiness and sharpness to the dish. Furthermore, the sight of banana blossoms in humba isn’t a rare one, as this ingredient provides a sweetness to your dish that definitely makes it more interesting. While pata tim doesn’t have any of these, sometimes the additional ingredient of pineapple slices make the former just as memorable and delicious in its unique way.
Other Ways to Cook Pata
Like we’ve mentioned earlier, pata is an incredibly versatile and easy to work around ingredient. Other than pata tim, here are other dishes where pata can truly shine.
We’d be remiss to not start this list off with the so-called national dish! For those who love their meals on the sourer side, you need not look further than the tasty and tantalizing sinigang. With juicy and succulent meat, this sinigang na pata is a great rendition of this timeless classic. Just like in this pata tim recipe, you’ll need to use a pressure cooker to ensure that your hock is as moist as can be. You’d be surprised how perfectly your pata will pair with ingredients like kangkong, Chinese eggplant, gabi, and more!
Ilocano food is a festival of flavors that will make you want to call a cheat day on any diet you’re on. Their use of meat is unparalleled, you can’t help but dig in! Dinakdakan is certainly no exception, with its spicy and delicious combo of pata, pork liver, chilis and onions. A dash of mayonnaise and liquid seasoning, too, and you can give it a dressing that is simply addictive. Everyone loves dinakdakan, and if you take one bite of this recipe it’ll be hard not to see why!
Another dish that never skimps on flavor is the classic and delectable kare kare. This warm, nutty stew is probably one of the best Filipino dishes there is; simply nothing can compare to that bright appearance, enticing fragrance, and altogether perfect bite. The addition of pata makes this dish even better! Your meat will surely complement that rich peanut sauce, banana blossoms, and eggplants, among other vegetables that’ll make an appearance. By combining the classic crispy pata and kare kare, you really are getting the best of both worlds!
How to Cook Pata Tim
Boil your pata
The first step in making pata tim is to boil your pata, to ensure it’s as tender as it needs to be. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Then, add your bay leaves and 4 lbs. of pork pata into the pot. Keep your pata in for about 10 minutes, before draining the water and setting it aside.
Pressure cook and flavor it up
After boiling your pata, heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, in the same pot. Sauté your onion and garlic, waiting until the onions soften before you add your boiled pata in. You need to sauté this for a minute more before pouring in soy sauce. About four tablespoons should do the trick, partnered with 3 cups of water in the pot. Bring it to a boil once more — then, add a piece of Knorr Pork Cube and 1 star anise. Pressure cook your pata until it’s able to soak up all the other elements and their flavors, as well as become more tender to the touch!
Add vegetables and thicken
Next on your pata tim agenda is to add your vegetables and other ingredients. Shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and even sugar go into the pot next. After these cook for about 3 minutes, you’ll need to add your bokchoy, too. Continue to cook this for one minute. In the meantime, you’ll also want to get your pata tim sauce as thick as possible. To do this, combine a tablespoon of cornstarch in a quarter cup of water and stir. When it’s thick to your liking, add this mixture to your pata tim pot. Keep stirring until you get the consistency you desire.
With that unforgettable and irresistible aroma in the air, you know that your pata tim is almost ready! A final touch of salt and ground black pepper seasoning is all you need to top off this delicious and easy to make dish.
Pata Tim Alternative and Additional Ingredients
This pata tim recipe is as easy as it gets. But if you need some extra or substitute ingredients, you need not look any further. Here are a few alternative ingredients that fill in your pata tim’s essential components quite effectively.
- For one, while the recipe involves a bunch of baby bok choy, any leafy vegetables like pak choi, choy sum, or even pechay will make great second options!
- Similarly, if you want a dash of sweetness to your pata tim, pineapple surely helps! As you may have noticed in other pata tim recipes, pineapple juice is an indispensable component. Sometimes, we even use slices of the actual fruit! In the same vein, other people who make pata tim also make use of Sprite or 7-Up! These clear, fizzy liquids not only add a sweetness to the dish; they also help tenderize your ham hocks even further.
- If it’s a tart element you’re after, vinegar will surely do the trick! Adding this condiment cuts through all the salty, savory and umami notes that soy sauce, sesame oil, and your other pata tim’s ingredients bring to the table.
- Lastly, you can also avail of Chinese cooking wine to add more depth of flavor to your pata tim. With both sweet and sour notes, this complex ingredient will make your Filipino-Chinese dish seem all the more authentic!
Serve your pata tim with lots of warm white rice; you and your family will be sure to love it! We can’t wait to hear what you think.
- 4 lbs pork leg
- 1 Knorr Pork Cube
- 1 bunch baby bok choy
- 10 Shiitake mushroom
- 1 carrot sliced crosswise
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons whole peppercorn
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion chopped
- 8 cups water
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- Boil 5 cups of water. Add bay leaves and pata. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain the water and set the pata aside.
- Heat cooking oil and sesame oil and then sauté onion and garlic.
- Once the onion softens, add the boiled pata. Sauté for 1 minute.
- Add soy sauce and pour 3 cups of water into the cooking pot. Let it boil.
- Add Knorr Pork Cube and star anise. Pressure-cook for 20 minutes
- Add sugar, Shitake mushroom and carrot. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the bok choy. Continue cooking for 1 minute.
- Combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Stir and pour the mixture into the cooking pot. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens.
- Season with salt and ground black pepper as needed.
- Serve. Share and enjoy!