Crispy Pata is a popular Filipino dish made of tender boiled pork leg then deep fried until golden and crispy. Boiling pork leg also known as pork hock takes at least an hour and half to cook on stove top. But using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker will cut the cooking time tremendously.
Crispy Pata is easy to cook but takes time to make. It is boiled, then refrigerated for hours and deep fried. I usually start this process at night, I boil the pork hock, drain and refrigerate overnight. Then, it is deep fried the following day.
If you have an option, select the upper portion of pork leg or pork hock as it is meatier. At the Asian store where I go, they have the pork leg chopped into pieces which is great. I’m able to pick which part I like and not forced to get the whole pork leg. It doesn’t need a big pot plus it is easier to handle when frying.
Before acquiring my deep fryer, whenever I had a craving for crispy pata or lechon kawali, it was easier for me to go to a Filipino restaurant. Unfortunately, the one place I like going to had closed, guess what, I have to make it myself. If Mom is here then once in a while I get to indulge. It is so succulent but we try to limit ourselves having this delicious crispy fatty meat.
Deep frying was daunting, so I decided to get a deep fryer so when craving strikes, I can easily make it without worrying of oil splatters. My deep fryer is one of the best investment I’ve added to my kitchen! I used to get the smallest pork hock so I can easily flip it. Now, with my deep fryer I don’t need a big lid as cover to fend off the oil splatters.
How to Cook Crispy Pata in an Instant Pot or Stove and Deep Fryer
- To cook pork hock in an Instant Pot, a cup or two of water is all you need. On stove top, you have to fully submerge the pork hock in water. Pork leg is boiled with aromatic seasonings.
- In an Instant Pot, a 1 ½ pound pork hock takes about 40 minutes to tenderize while on stove top, it will take at least 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Deep Fryer temperature is set to 375 degrees F. When hot, green button will be lit. Place pork hock in basket then submerge in oil and cover. It is done once oil does not sizzle as much, no more crackling sound. On stove top, make sure oil is hot reaching at least 350 degrees F. If not sure, use a thermometer before putting pork leg. If oil is not very hot, you will not achieve a crispy skin. Braise yourself, be ready to fend off any oil splatters. Never cover pot with lid. I use an oil splatter screen plus I’m holding my biggest pot lid as cover.
Note: If pork hock is not tender the first time you PRESSURE COOK, you can repeat the process and estimate the time. In my case, I set the time to 25 minutes, but after checking, it was not tender yet. I set the time again for another 25 minutes but changed my mind. Cancelled the PRESSURE COOK program before it started and set the time for 15 minutes. I want my meat tender but not over done as in falling off the bone. I’ve used my instant pot many times already, but depending on the cut of meat and amount, cooking time varies. The 2nd time around, I felt it needed another 10 minutes, so I did and it came out tender but not falling apart with the bone intact.
Please read the manual if this is your first time to use your new Instant Pot. Familiarize yourself with the different features and programs for your safety. My cooking instructions does not replace the manual.
How to Achieve a “CRISPY” Pata
- After boiling, cool and refrigerate uncovered for at least ½ a day.
- Oil’s temperature should reach between 350 deg. F to 375 deg. F before frying pata. Set deep fryer to 375 deg. F.
- Overcrowding meat is another reason why pata skin is not crispy. Oil should maintain its hot temperature.
Cooking Crispy Pata in Instant Pot or Stove and Deep Fryer
As always, my Instant Pot cooking instructions are very detailed for people who are new to it. I’m assuming that’s why you are here. Watch my video to see how I do it.
Would you like to try Lechon Kawali, click the link How to Make Lechon Kawali?
Try this succulent Pata Tim recipe.
- 2 cups water
- 1.70 pounds pork leg or hock
- 1 tablespoon peppercorn
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste (season boiled pork leg before refrigerated)
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 red or white onion chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- pinch of garlic powder if desired but optional
- 2 Thai chili if desired but optional
Wash and clean pork hock.
- In the inner pot, add pork hock, water, onion, bay leaves, peppercorn, garlic powder and salt.
- Place the condensation collector behind the cooker and plug the instant pot.
Close lid and turn the steam release handle to "SEALING".
Press “PRESSURE COOK” to normal and high pressure. Adjust time to 50 minutes. (This cooking time is for 1.70 pounds pork hock.)
FLOAT VALVE will pop-up after a few minutes, an indication that the instant pot is pressurize and countdown begins.
- When cooking time is done, "PRESSURE COOK" program will no longer be lit. The display will show the elasped time. Example: L000
- Press "CANCEL".
- Wait when FLOAT VALVE goes down before opening the lid. Note: You can also do a quick pressure release but be very careful when doing this. Refer to manual for detailed instructions.
- Turn the steam release handle to "VENTING".
- Open lid. Tilt lid so all the water droplets fall inside the inner pot. Less clean up for you.
NOTE: After done with PRESSURE COOK, use a fork and poke the meat at the center to check if tender, if not repeat the PRESSURE COOK process and estimate the time.
- Remove pork hock from inner pot. Discard liquid or use it as broth when cooking.
- Season pork hock with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Cool, then refrigerate with no cover (no saran wrap) for at least ½ a day. I do it overnight.
Deep fry. If using deep fryer, set temperature to 375 degrees F. Wait when green light is lit. Place in basket, submerge in oil and cover. Once oil is not bubbling or sizzling as much, check crispy pata and flip to the other side. When done, remove from fryer. It took 9 minutes to fry.
Prepare vinegar dip. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add Thai chili if you like it spicy.
- Serve crispy pata whole or chopped. Serve hot. Enjoy!
STOVE TOP COOKING : If you don’t own an instant pot, in a big pot, fully submerge pork leg in water and add all the seasonings. It will take between 1 ½ to 2 hours till tender. Poke with fork to check if done. Season with garlic powder, salt & pepper while hot. Cool & refrigerate for at least 1/2 a day or overnight.
DEEP FRYING: Make sure oil is hot before submerging pork hock. Oil’s temperature should reach at least 350 degrees F or higher. Do not cover with lid. Use an oil splatter screen and be careful. Once desired crispiness is achieved or oil does not sizzle as much, remove crispy pata. Serve with vinegar dip. Enjoy!