Pasig Style Nilagang Pata is a dish of brothy pork knuckles thickened with fried plantains and sweet potatoes with cabbage, string beans, and colored with ‘annatto seeds
One of my sources on unpopular Filipino dishes is this site called Glossary of Filipino Food, it is one of the best sites that keeps a wealth of information about the Philippine cuisine. One day as I was reading some of the articles in there I saw this section about Metro Manila Specialties, it was written three years ago and when it was first posted I did not bothered reading it as I was from Metro Manila, I thought I knew most of the dishes there but I was wrong. I saw this dish called Nilaga in Pasig, it was common until I read that paragraph on how it was described.
“brothy pork knuckles dish is thickened with fried ‘saba’ and ‘kamote,’ with cabbage, string beans, and colored with ‘achuete,’ eaten with either of two side dishes: grilled eggplant mashed with vinegar, a sprinkle of sugar, shallots, garlic, or simple lettuce salad with tomatoes, onions, sliced hard-boiled eggs in a vinaigrette”
Now that brought me to my attention, as that is a dish I haven’t tried yet and I want to recreate it at home, so hopefully I get this right the first time, so it’s up to you to decide specially those ones who tried the real thing whether I nailed the recipe. I relied on the description where it says a lot, and like the name suggest it is a soup style pork leg. Also based on the description, it feels like is a cross between Puchero and the usual Nilagang baboy, with hints of achuete like how it is used in sotanghon soup. The only thing that confuses me is that it is a thickened soup by fried ‘saba’ and ‘kamote’, which are bananas and sweet potato, but frying them will harden them and make it less starchy, so I ended up pan frying the banana and not frying the sweet potatoes, I even mashed 3 large chunks of it to mix in with the soup.
The result was great, I indeed like it, when we had it I had no patis on the side but it would be better to have one to give it more ooomph! Because unlike beef nilaga using pork leg is less tasty in dishes prepared like this. So here you go my Pasig Style Nilaga, I am not sure if this is the correct one, I haven’t seen any recipe online nor a picture of it so for those of you who had tried the real thing please let me know how it go.
In a soup pot add oil then sauté garlic and onions.
Generously season pork hock with salt then place it in the pot, cook until it’s not pinkish in colour, lightly brown on all sides.
Pour chicken stock and diluted annatto powder, then place the 4 quarters of sweet potato (equivalent to 1 whole), top up with water until it covers everything. Bring to a boil then simmer in low heat for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
While it is simmering, prepare a non-stick pan, add a small amount of oil then pan fry the saba. Once done, set is aside.
Add the remaining sweet potatoes, continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the string beans and fried saba, continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the cabbage then simmer for 3 more minutes. Season with fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper then serve.