Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Crispy Pata and Chicharrón (Easy version)


Crispy Pata and Chicharrón 

Through sheer luck and by the hands of fate, i decided to attempt a Chicharrón (deep fried pork belly fried in it's own fats!) recipe i stumbled upon the internet. By right, the you are supposed to boil/simmer the pork belly with some water for a few hours and let the fats seep out before turning up the fire to fry it. But half way through cooking, I was advised by my filipino friend that the pork sold in Singapore is unlike those in the Philippines! Apparently the pork sold in Singapore is thin and qualifies to be a spokesperson for pig slimming pills (if there were ever such a thing). Hence, it is almost impossible to get enough lard from the cooked pork belly for its own deep frying. At this point in time, images of pork fat cubes sold at Sheng Siong flashed across my mind. I could stir fry the fats until i get enough oil to fry the pork belly! Yes it's cheating but it's also a viable method. Unfortunately, there was no extra fats at hand. So i did the next best thing, throw the cooked pork belly into the deep fryer (yes with normal vegetable oil). I ended up with pork belly that was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside! I can only imagine how much more fragrant it will be if its fried in lard.
Close up Crispy Pata and Chicharron 

On the day of my experiment, I bought pork front knuckles as well. The idea was to boil them till tender and deep fry it to obtain a crispy skin. In my head, i figured that's how pork knuckles are done. That same filipino friend said its a popular dish they have in the Philippines - Crispy Pata! Boiling the knuckles made them tender. Deep frying them made the skin crispy. Not quite like the pork knuckles sold outside but a yummy snack nevertheless. Check out the simple and straight forward recipe below for a 2 in 1 treat!

Pork knuckles/leg/front or hind hock (Sold in Sheng Siong). Pick the ones with meat and skin!
Pork Belly (as much as you like)
All Purpose Seasoning (You can pick you own desired seasoning. To be sprinkled on the pork at the end of the frying)

1. Cut the knuckles and pork belly into small pieces. Note that the pork will shrink when cooking. If you don't want to end up with mini pieces, don't cut too small.
2. Put all the pork into a pot of water to boil and simmer. It's a bit tricky to tell you how long they should cook because it depends on how much pork you are using. Pork knuckles will take a longer time to cook and be tender compared to pork belly. I recommend 1.5 hours to 2 hours ought to be enough.
3. Drain the pork.
4. Deep fry in oil till crispy. It takes less than 5 minutes. Do not walk away! Watch the pork!
5. Sprinkle desired seasoning on the fried pork. Serve immediately.

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