La Paz Batchoy is one of the definitive dishes from Iloilo, a province located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. Batchoy is believed to have been invented by Federico Guillergan Sr. in 1938 while working for a Chinese merchant. In 1945, he opened his first stall in La Paz Market and has continued to thrive until the present as Deco’s La Paz Batchoy.
However, I never had the time to meticulously make the broth from scratch. For this particular entry, the focus will be how to transform a store bought instant brand into something similar to the actual La Paz Batchoy I used to have when my family and I visited my Ilonggo grandparents.
To start, get yourself these two ingredients:
(Left image: Lucky Me La Paz Batchoy; Right Image: R. Lapid’s Chicharon)
2 packs Lucky Me La Paz Batchoy
For your chicharon, any store bought variety will do. I chose R. Lapid’s because it was the available brand in our house. Use about 50g and pound it. Reserve another 50g (not pounded)
The other ingredients you will need:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 knob of garlic, minced
1 stem onion leek, thinly sliced
150 grams chicken breast
50 grams pork liver
1 fresh egg
How to assemble the La Paz Batchoy:
- In a wok, heat 1/2 cup of oil in high heat. When the oil is hot enough, add the garlic. Reduce the heat to low and wait until the garlic turns into a golden brown. Occasionally stir the garlic to distribute the heat evenly and to prevent them from burning. Once done, set aside the garlic oil.
- Boil around 4 cups of water on high heat. When water is boiling, reduce to medium heat. Add the chicken breast and pork liver in the boiling water. Let it boil around 20 to 30 minutes. While the pork and chicken are boiling, removed any brownish or greyish residue that float to the surface or to the sides of your pan. Occasionally poke the pork liver with a knife or fork. If blood still leaks out, let is boil for another 5 to 10 minutes. Once both the chicken and pork are cooked, set aside in ice water.
- Check your water, if it is reduced in half, add a little more. During this time, your water should be boiling. Add the condiments from the Lucky Me La Paz Batchoy into the boiling water. Add the pounded chicharon as well. Let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add half of the onion leeks to the soup base. Let simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the noodles and cook until al dente. While your noodles are cooking, slice the liver and chicken into long thin strips.
- Turn off the heat when your noodles are done.
Assembling the La Paz Batchoy:
- In a bowl, pour some of the garlic oil at the base.
- Scoop in some of the broth. Add the noodles after the broth.
- Top with chicharon, onion leek, liver, chicken. Add the fresh egg at the side of the topping.
- Optional: add more garlic oil on top (I personally recommend this). Should you need more smoke, add some black pepper.
That should be your end product. I hope this is similar to the actual La Paz Batchoy that you enjoy in Iloilo. Think of it as the Philippines’ local ramen or mami.