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This recipe is from my dad's eldest sister Auntie Columbia. She used to prepare this dish whenever she visits from the Philippines. It was always a treat. Somehow her estofado tasted the best to me. When I asked her what the secret is, she would say "pwe-pwe", which I took to mean some kind of magic.
1 large pata or pig's feet (about 1 kilo or 2 1/2 to 3 lbs)
1 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup of brown sugar (Note: I like my estofado on the sweeter side, you may reduce sugar to 1/4 cup if you prefer)
1/2 cup of soy sauce
3 laurel or bay leaf
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 head garlic, crushed
Salt to taste
4 saba bananas cut in large diagonal (1") chunks and fried to a golden brown.
1/2 cup cooking oil
Note:The Philippine saba banana (genus Cardaba) is not readily available in the US. A good substitute is the more common plantain (genus Musa).
Clean pig's feet. Heat up 1/4 cup of oil, saute garlic until light golden brown, Add pig's feet and brown on all sides for about 7 to 10 minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar, water, peppercorns and bay leaf then bring to a boil.
(Tip: Do not stir mixture until it has been allowed to boil for a few minutes to allow the taste of vinegar , water and soy sauce to blend. Otherwise, you will notice separation of flavors such as a distinctively vinegary or salty taste.)
Turn down heat and bring to simmer until pig's feet is fork tender. Add brown sugar and let simmer for about 10 minutes more. I look for a nice golden brown, caramelized color on the pig's feet and the liquids reduced by at least half and thicker. Add the banana and let simmer for about 5 minutes more. Serve hot.
Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan is a retired corporate director of accounting, payroll and compensation at OfficeMax (formerly Boise Cascade Office Products). An alumnus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, she now devotes her time to volunteer work and her travels, art, food, quilting and needle arts, which she writes about in her blogs, Finding Art and Ang Kusina ni Lola Alfonsa.
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