My first introduction to La Paz Batchoy, sadly, were the yellow foam bowls labeled Lucky Me! Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against convenient foods. As much as I love to cook, noodle packages are a staple in my house and one I always keep a stock of. In fact, one of my favorite quick-fix meals is this mock pancit canton stir-fry made from Lucky Me! instant ramen noodles.
Batchoy go-cups have served me well especially on my lunch breaks at work. But when a friend brought her made-from-scratch version of authentic batchoy for me to try, and I got to experience silky noodles and robust flavors you can only get from homemade, there was no turning back.
The above quality of made-from-scratch foods, of course, comes with a price. Recreating this La Paz batchoy over the weekend involved so much work, I was tempted many times during the whole process to just chuck it and settle for my Lucky Me! The beef and pork bones alone took hours of simmering to make the homemade stock I needed. But oh my sweet, was the effort so worth it!
Can you just imagine the amazing flavor of the stock from all that marrow-rich bones above? Liquid gold, my friends, liquid gold. A word of wisdom from someone who sweated for four hours to satisfy a La Paz batchoy craving, get into the habit of making your own homemade stock and store in the freezer to have handy for your favorite soups. If I was smart enough to have followed my own advice, this noodle soup would have come together in less time and with less fuss.
Now, folks, we do have a batchoy tagalog recipe in the archive. Although both versions share pork and organ meats as common ingredients, the flavor profiles of these two dishes are very distinct. The Batchoy Tagalog of Northern Luzon pulls together with pork blood, miswa noodles, chili leaves and a ginger-based broth. The La Paz Batchoy of Iloilo, however, uses pork and beef stock flavored with shrimp paste along with fresh miki noodles and toppings of boiled meat, crushed chicharon, fried garlic and raw eggs. Give them a try and let me know what you like best!
La Paz Batchoy
- 3 pounds pork bones
- 2 pounds beef bones with marrow
- ½ pork shoulder
- ½ pound pork intestines cleaned
- ½ pound pork liver
- 1 small red onion peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon sauteed shrimp paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon MSG
- rock salt and pepper
For the Toppings
- pork cracklings chicharon, crushed
- fried garlic bits
- green onions
- whole raw eggs optional
- In a deep pot, bring enough water to cover bones into a boil. Add bones and boil, skimming scum that floats on top, for about 10 minutes. Drain bones and discard liquid. Under cold running water, rinse bones to rid of any scum. Rinse pot. Return bones to pot and enough cold water (about 10 to 12 cups) to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that floats on top. Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 3 hours.
- Using a colander, strain broth. Scrape off any attached meat from bones and set aside. Using a small spoon, scoop out marrow from beef bones and set aside. Discard bones.
- Return broth to pot and bring to a boil. Add pork shoulder and pork intestines. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. With a slotted spoon, remove from pot and allow to slightly cool to touch. Slice into strips and set aside.
- Add liver to pot and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove from pot and allow to slight cool to touch. Slice into strips and set aside.
- Add onions and garlic to pot of hot broth. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until onions and garlic are softened. Add shrimp paste and stir until dispersed. Add sugar and MSG. Season with rock salt and pepper to taste.
- In a saucepot, bring about 3 quarts to a boil. Using a strainer basket, submerge noodles for about 30 to 40 seconds. Drain well and divide into serving bowls.
- Ladle hot broth over noodles. Top with sliced pork, intestines, liver and any scrap meat from bones. Divide bone into each bowl, if desired. Garnish with chicharon, fried garlic bits and green onions. Crack a raw egg into each bowl, if desired. Serve hot.