My daughter, Liane, came down from Northern California last month to spend her birthday week at home. As usual, our mother and daughter bonding involved delicious trips to our favorite restaurants.
One of these favorite places is an establishment in the city of Artesia called Crispy House, formerly known as Magic Wok. If you ever find yourself near Pioneer and Artesia Blvd, and in great need of good Filipino food, I urge you to try this place. The restaurant itself is far from fancy, just a hole in the wall tucked in the corner of a decrepit shopping center. But, my peeps, the food! Their crispy pata alone makes them, in my book, the best Filipino restaurant in California! In fact, I don't think there is any one dish I've had at this restaurant that I didn't like. Alright, I stand corrected, their sinigang is the worst I've had in my life but everything else suits my tastes to a T.
Although we've tried a good percent of their menu, my daughter and I are creatures of habit that we order the same two things every time: crispy pata, which they are especially known for, and ginataang gulay to pair the succulent pork morsels with. Guys, I can be pretty badass with a can of coconut milk in the kitchen but I have to admit, their version of ginataang gulay leaves mine in the dust! So out of this world delicious, I had re-create it at home.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- ½ pound pork belly cut into 1-inch strips
- ½ pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon sauteed shrimp paste
- 1 can 19 ounces coconut cream (kakang gata)
- 1 cup water
- 8 ounces frozen young green jackfruit thawed and cut into 1-inch pieces or 1 (20 ounces) can young green jackfruit
- ½ medium calabasa peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 10 to 12 pieces green beans ends trimmed and cut into halves
- 2 medium eggplant ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch thickness
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a wide pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until limp. Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add shrimps and cook just until color changes to pink. Add shrimp paste and cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add coconut cream and water. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until slightly thickened and reduced.
- Add jackfruit and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add calabasa and cook until tender but firm. Add green beans and eggplant and continue to cook until vegetables are tender and sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.