So without further ado, let’s do the batchoy dance.
How to cook your La Paz Batchoy broth
Get your pork bones and beef bones ready. If you can’t get any pork bones, like what happened to me, request for a huge cut of pork’s leg (hocks not included). Clean that foul beast with running water. The water should be cold and running because if it is walking, there will be no more drugs for you. What I mean by clean too is that you have to get that thing that you use for your underarms and hide it. You only use that for trimming your chicken skin, not your pork. Pluck the pork hairs with your dedicated kitchen plucking device. If you can’t get any beef bones, you are in Mars.
Step 1 a
If what happened to me happened to you, get a very sharp knife and start taking the skin off the pork leg, in one piece. That would be very useful later so don’t go wearing that on your head or dressing your menace-of-a-nephew with it. If you don’t know how to take it off, you can ask me in the comments later.
Do this 5 hours before you eat your batchoy. Place your bones in a deep pot. The ratio of the beef bones should be a fourth of the pork bones. Dump your onions in. This should be a fourth of all your bone mix. Don’t worry if your pork legs has meat on it, we will use that later, it is actually essential to your Batchoy recipe. Add a handful of salt and a handful of pepper and a handful of sugar. If your hand is as big as Lebron James’ (he is with the Miami Heat now by the way) do a pinch of salt, sugar and pepper. Don’t worry about it ending up salty or peppery, you can adjust it later. Now put water in your pot. The water level should just be a little above your bones. Put it on the stove in low heat. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. Promise yourself that if it will boil, as a penalty, you have to put your hand in. Let it simmer with small bubbles. Let it simmer for 5 hours. If it boils, put your hand in, lower the heat and take your hands off. Children below 18 years of age are exempted from the penalty. Check your broth from time to time for scum. Scoop it out. Do not eat it. Webster says, scum is extraneous matter or impurities risen to or formed on the surface of a liquid often as a foul filmy covering… which is also a similar description to people who get to the top, like celebrities.
Get a head of garlic and chop it all up. Put a shallow pan in the stove in low heat and add a reasonable amount of oil. Your chopped garlic goes in that pan. Sautee your garlic until golden brown. Set it aside. If you burned your garlic or if they look like black peppercorns already, you know the penalty… and this time hold your mobile phone in your hand while you do it.
Chop your spring onions. Take your time. You still have 4 and a half hours. And set it aside.
How to cook your La Paz Batchoy toppings
Do you still have that pork skin? If you bought your Chicharon, you don’t need to do Step X. If you don’t have them yet, crank the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Score the skin and apply a handful of coarse salt. The water in the salt will give you the crunchy-bubbles that you want with your pork skin. If your oven has turned into a fiery furnace already, slide the pork skin in. Make sure that your oven is 200 degrees Celcius hot or your Chicharon will be impotent. After 30-40 minutes or when your Chicharon looks crunchy, take it off the heat and put it on a wire rack. Do not put it on a plate or a flat surface. As old people say in the Philippines, “baka hindi makahinga”, meaning, you will choke the poor thing. I would like to explain more on this but that would be for another post.
If you don’t have an oven. Go around the neighborhood and ask for used oil. If you have enough, take a bath with it. If you don’t want to, put it in a deep wok, and crank the heat up like the sun. While you are waiting for the heat to engulf the oil, cut your pork skin into bite size pieces. If your oil is scalding hot, dunk your pork skin in. Once the skin floats up and it looks like Chicharon, it’s done. Take it off, save it from hell.
WARNING: BE CAREFUL. HOT BOILING OIL CAN KILL. A HUNGRY FAMILY CAN KILL TOO. So don’t do this recipe if you don’t have 6 hours of free time.
We still have 3 hours yes? Let’s talk about, what else, Batchoy.
There are 3 major La Paz Batchoy masters in the city of Iloilo, where La Paz is.
The top of the food chain is the Deco’s La Paz Batchoy recipe. It seems that these guys are the ones who really made the original La Paz Batchoy Recipe. They do their batchoy with bagoong or shrimp paste. I have tasted their batchoy and the spunk of shrimp paste doesn’t work with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love shrimp paste but not on my batchoy. But still, Ilonggos (people of Iloilo) give them the credit for apparently making the La Paz Batchoy (with shrimp paste) as we know it.
Next on the list is Ted’s Old Timer La Paz Batchoy recipe. I don’t know why they included old timer in their name but they cook a pretty good batchoy. I don’t need to tell you the branches because they are everywhere. They will be in your bathroom later.
The last and my most favorite is Nat’s La Paz Batchoy recipe. Just thinking about their batchoy makes me want to dive in the soup’s broth. The one branch that I can remember is, in front of the side entrance of SM Delgado. Nat’s La Paz Batchoy is my personal favorite. Don’t ask me why because that will only lead to an argument. Besides, the handsome owner is my godfather. So that explains everything.
Alright, like what you see on TV, I will forward it to the last hour before our broth sips the whole 5 hours.
Put the pork intestines and liver in a separate pot. Put onions in the pot equivalent to half of the pork intestines and liver combined. Dunk in an additional 5 cloves of garlic. Add a lot of peppercorns and a teaspoon of salt. I am assuming that both of your intestines and liver do not exceed 2 kilograms. Let it sit on medium heat for an hour, covered. If it boils like a stubborn juvenile, just take the lid off and let it rip.
Go back to your broth pot and dunk your golden brown garlic in.
Step 7, 8, 9
Take your pork leg out of the pot, remove the meat and start slicing them as big as your pinky finger. If you have Lebron James’ fingers, you know what to do. After an hour, do this with your intestines and liver.
Where is your chicharron? Pound it. Break it. Smash it. Blow it to smithereens.
Put your Miki or batchoy noodles in a strainer. A basket strainer will do but if you have a noodle strainer, do it. Like what you see in your instant-noodle packaging, simmer the noodles for a couple of minutes. Do not exceed 5 minutes (even if you are doing dried noodles) because you never want to eat soggy noodles.
The last and the funnest part. Get a bowl, put a handful of noodles, put a few of pork meat, pork liver and pork intestines, scoop your broth and let it flow in the bowl, and top it with spring onions and chicharon. Pause for a few seconds, close your eyes, thank God that you now know how to cook La Paz Batchoy and see your creation in its gleaming glory. Serve it baby.
Go ahead, click on the picture for a bigger view.
Fortunately, this wouldn’t end up with you spending 6 hours of hard labor and enjoying 10 minutes of heaven. Freeze everything in batches so you can go and serve it in the next 3 days.