Cooking this dish is simple, just throw everything in the pot then put it on the stove and cook. But this recipe has one more step of smoking the pork knuckles (cold smoke process) that will give the meat a more savory country style flavor. With regard to smoking the meat, don’t use scrap wood like those used in construction or furniture because they have chemicals to treat the wood. Use only natural unprocessed wood like branches of a tree or firewood. You can also grill the knuckles if smoking seems tedious to do.
A Flavorful Ilokano Pork Knuckles Stew
When it comes to Filipino comfort food, few dishes can rival the hearty goodness of Lauya. This Ilokano delicacy is a warm and soul-soothing stew that boasts tender chunks of pork knuckles combined with an array of vegetables. While some versions opt for beef knuckles, the traditional Lauya recipe features pork, making it a delightful counterpart to the Tagalog Nilaga. In the Ilokano language, “lauya” translates to “nilaga” in Tagalog or simply “boiled” in English.
A Simple Yet Flavorful Dish
The beauty of Lauya lies in its simplicity. It’s a dish that doesn’t require culinary expertise but still manages to deliver a flavor explosion. Imagine throwing everything into a pot, placing it on the stove, and letting it simmer to perfection. However, there’s a unique twist to this recipe that elevates it to a whole new level of deliciousness – the cold smoking process.
Enhancing Flavor with Cold Smoking
Before diving into the cooking process, the first step in making Lauya exceptional is smoking the pork knuckles. This additional step infuses the meat with a savory, country-style flavor that sets Lauya apart. To ensure your meat is safe and flavorful, it’s crucial to use the right type of wood. Avoid using scrap wood from construction or furniture, as they may contain chemicals that can compromise the taste and safety of your dish. Instead, opt for natural, unprocessed wood, such as branches from a tree or firewood. Alternatively, you can grill the knuckles if cold smoking feels like too much effort.
Prepare the Pork Knuckles:
Begin by chopping the pork knuckles into approximately 1 and 1/2-inch thick pieces. If you prefer, you can ask your meat vendor to do this for you. Afterward, ensure the pork knuckles are thoroughly cleaned, removing any small hairs you may find.
Cold Smoking or Grilling:
Now comes the crucial step of smoking the pork knuckles using the cold smoke process. Alternatively, you can partially grill the pork to enhance its flavor. Set the smoked or grilled knuckles aside for later use.
Heat Things Up:
In a generously sized wok, heat it over medium to strong fire. Once it’s hot, add the smoked pork knuckles, allowing them to sizzle for a few seconds.
Add the Ingredients:
Next, add onion and garlic, followed by potatoes, cabbage, ground black pepper, bay leaves, patis (fish sauce), and water. It’s important not to mix or stir at this stage.
Let the ingredients simmer away for approximately 2 hours or until the meat becomes incredibly tender. The gentle simmering allows all the flavors to meld together, creating that signature Lauya taste.
The Final Touch:
Finally, add sugarcane vinegar or sukang Iloko to the stew and cook for another 25 minutes. Remember not to mix or stir during this step.
Serve and Enjoy:
Once your Lauya is ready, serve it piping hot in a soup plate, and savor the rich flavors and tender meat that characterize this delectable Ilokano dish.
Lauya is more than just a meal; it’s a testament to the heartwarming flavors of the Philippines. With a few simple steps and a little patience, you can create this Ilokano Pork Knuckles Stew that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds and warm your soul. Whether you opt for the cold smoking process or grilling, the key is to use quality ingredients and allow the stew to simmer slowly, allowing the flavors to meld into a harmonious, mouthwatering symphony. So, the next time you’re craving comfort food with a Filipino twist, give Lauya a try, and you won’t be disappointed. Your taste buds will thank you for this delightful culinary adventure into the heart of Ilokano cuisine.
How to Cook Lauya (Ilokano Pork Knuckles Stew)
- 3 kilos pork knuckes or pata ng baboy
- 1 head cabbage sliced into strips
- 4 large potatoes peeled and quartered
- 1 head garlic crushed
- 4 pcs medium size onions chopped
- 6 pcs crushed bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup patis or fish sauce
- 1/8 cup sukang Iloko raw sugarcane vinegar
- 4 liters water or soup stock
- MSG or any granulated seasoning to taste
How to cook Lauya:
- Chop the pork knuckles or let the meat vendor chop it for you about 1 and 1/2 inches thick.
- Wash and clean the pork knuckles, remove or shave the small hairs if you found any.
- Then smoke the pork knuckles using the cold smoke process. You can also grill the pork partially to improve the taste if you don't want to smoke it. Set aside.
- Heat a big wok in medium to strong fire, then add the smoked pork knuckles, let it sizzle for a few seconds then add onion and garlic, potatoes, cabbage, ground black pepper, bay leaves, patis and water. Do not mix or stir.
- Cook for 2 hours or until the meat becomes tender.
- Then add sugarcane vinegar or sukang Iloko and cook for another 25 minutes. Again do not mix or stir. Serve hot in a soup plate.
Cooking Tips of Lauya Recipe:
- Choose the Right Wood: Opt for natural, unprocessed wood, such as branches from a tree or firewood, when smoking your pork knuckles. Avoid using scrap wood from construction or furniture, as they may contain harmful chemicals that can taint the taste of your dish.
- Maintain a Cold Smoke Process: When smoking the knuckles, ensure that the process remains cold. Cold smoking infuses a subtle smokiness without fully cooking the meat. This step is crucial to achieve the unique flavor profile of Lauya.
- Consider Grilling as an Alternative: If cold smoking seems daunting, you can achieve a similar effect by grilling the pork knuckles partially. This alternative method also enhances the taste and texture of the meat, making it a convenient option for home cooks.
- Resist the Urge to Stir: Throughout the cooking process, refrain from stirring the stew. This prevents the meat from breaking apart and allows the flavors to develop naturally.