Cooking Mama | Food

How to Cook Chinese-Style Pata Tim Recipe (Braised Pork Hock)


Chinese New Year is around the corner, so what better way to celebrate it in a Filipino household than with some tikoy and this Chinese-style pata tim recipe. This dish is so special in celebrations because it is so yummy and the texture is very comforting. It is perfect for the Pinoy taste, too. So the next time you have a family gathering, celebrate safely in this pandemic life and impress them by having pata tim as your main dish. Learn to cook this.

The Pata Tim

If cooked well, many people love pork leg dishes because of the heavenly combination of tender meat, thin layers of fat, and the jelly-like skin. We love it in pork humba (sliced leg in soy sauce), KBL soup, pork and beans, Habichuelas de San Carlos, kare-kare, and many more!

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~ Wouldn’t you love this in the middle of your dinner table? ~

But those dishes I mentioned above usually use sliced pork hocks. The pata tim is different in the presentation: it uses the whole front leg. I am emphasizing the use of the front leg because is meatier than the hind legs. The pig’s hind leg slices are usually used in soups, because it is mostly bones and skin.

Filipinos usually like pata tim sweet and garnished with pineapples. But for the Chinese-style pata tim recipe, it is usually served shiitake mushrooms (black mushrooms) steamed boc choy, which is a type of Chinese cabbage. The young bok choy is usually steamed in bunches, but I removed each leaf from the bunch and washed them thoroughly. I am glad that I did because some soil and sand got trapped between the stems and I don’t want them mixing in the food. While the germs can be killed in the food steamer, the taste of the soil and the texture of the sand would not be pleasant additions to the dish.

Without further chitchat, here is my Chinese-style Pata Tim Recipe.

Chinese-Style Pata Tim Recipe

Would you like to prepare this for Chinese New Year dinner? I am sharing here my complete recipe along with cooking notes. This is very easy to make, because I also discovered some short cuts, however, I have to warn you that this takes a lot of cooking time. I would advise you to start preparing the day before if you want to eat it for lunch.

Ingredients for the Chinese-Style Pata Tim Recipe :

There are three cooking styles involved in making this Chinese-style pata tim recipe. First, there is boiling, then the baking (or frying), and the steaming. I am not really sure about the effects, but this is just the way things are done.

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~ Boil the pork legs with aromatic ingredients. ~

For boiling:

  • Water for boiling seasoned with salt* and soy sauce
  • Thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • 1 whole head garlic, peeled
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 whole pork hocks, cleaned

Put all the ingredients above (except the pork legs and soy sauce) in a pot and bring to a boil. Start timing when the water starts to boil again and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and remove the legs to drain. Poke holes into the skin and wipe to dry with a paper towel.

* Try substituting salt with the pink Himalayan salt because it has less sodium content.

For frying:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • Cooking oil

To fry. Coat the pork hocks with soy sauce to brown the skin. The traditional way is to make pata tim is to fry the pork hock in very hot oil for about 3 minutes, or until the skin turns golden brown and crisp. Just heat enough oil to deep fry the pork hocks once a time. Drain the excess oils.

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~ Coating the pork with soy sauce gives the skin a deeper brown color. ~

To bake. However, since I am scared of frying a whole pork leg and fight with the fiery hot oil sprays, I tried to find other ways to do this. The purpose of this step is to make the skin crisp. First, I tried to bake the pork legs. Preheat over to 200°C. Rub the pork hocks with soy sauce and bake for 20 minutes on one side and another 15 minutes on another. The purpose of this step is just to brown and crisp the skin.

To airfry. I also tried using my airfryer and still works just as well. The good thing about baking or airfying pork hocks is, 1) no need to use oil; and 2) it is much safer for the cook. I set the temperature to 200°C and airfried for 20 minutes on 1 side and 15 minutes on the other side.

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~ The pork hocks in the air fryer. I put a wire rack over a silicone mat underneath. ~

To soften the skin

By this time, I know that this sounds crazy. But yeah, after making the skin crisp, we need to soften it in preparation for steaming.

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsps. cooking wine or rice wine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Black pepper

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and steep the crispy pork hocks overnight. If you have the time, it is best to flip the pork midway to soften the other side.

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~ After air-frying, the pork hocks can already be served as crispy pata. ~

For steaming

  • Thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • 1 whole clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 onion sliced
  • Stalks of green onion, sliced about 2 inches long
  • 2 pcs. star anise
  • 2 pcs. dried laurel leaves
  • 5 pcs. dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked for at least 30 minutes

Put water in your food steamer and turn on the heat. Place the pork hocks in a bowl and pour the marinade over them, coating all sides. Place all the aromatic ingredients all over the top but put the garlic and shiitake mushrooms in with the sauce. Steam the pork for 3 hours on medium heat or 2 hours on high heat. Check your steamer after an hour if you still have enough water left.

Vegetable Side Dishes

On the last 10-minute stretch of steaming, add another layer on your food steamer. Place the bok choy in a bowl and steam them.

Make the Sauce

After steaming, let the pork rest for about 10 minutes. Remove the pork hocks and place on a serving dish along with the bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic cloves.

As for the liquid left in the bowl, you may strain it to remove the solids. Place the liquid in a saucepan. Dissolve 2 Tbsps. cornstarch in 1/4 cup water and add into the saucepan. Cook over low heat until thick, stirring frequently. Pour this over your cooked pork legs and the vegetables.

Cooking Notes

If you are making pata tim for the family, I suggest you cook two pork hocks at the same time. You don’t have to finish eating both in one meal. You can just serve one and refrigerate the other for another meal.

Just reheat the second leg in the steamer along with more vegetables and then make the sauce. Pork hocks sell cheaper than the meaty cuts of pork because they have more bones, so two legs would only be around 3 kilos or less. But you do save on cooking time, fuel, and electricity.

Let me know your cooking notes in the comments below. Enjoy!

Other pork recipes

Try some of these other pork recipes at home, too.

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9 thoughts on “How to Cook Chinese-Style Pata Tim Recipe (Braised Pork Hock)

  1. Really love to try this Recipe Mommy Sig. Super Yummy at nakakatakam.
    Perfect Panghanda for a family Day or even at Any occasion

  2. Same po kayo ng Mama ko Mommy Sig. Kapag Bibili ng pork Leg she always make sure na front leg ang nabili nia. Mas nalaman daw po KASi. Hehe. Ang tatalino po ng Mga nanay pagdati sa pagluluto at sa parts ng mga Karne.
    Anyways I super love this recipe po. Sana maka try din ako nakaluto nito. Gayahin ko po recipe nio Mommy Sig🙏
    Thank you for sharing po. Keepsafe♥️

  3. Super love this recipe Mommy Sig. Perfect ‘tong ihanda lalo na sa mga important occassions like birthday, Christmas, New Year, etc. Thanks for sharing your recipe ma. Try ko din ‘to!

  4. wow thanks for sharing how to cook patatim, di ko man sya sanay iluto pero sobrang bless ako dhil gets ko na how to cook it so yummy

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