IMG 9151 Pata tim

Where the Wind Takes Us…

Chances are that if you are coming to visit me, the first place I would take you is my sanctuary: the beach in Del Mar. I love to go there to walk or just sit around and gaze at the Pacific Ocean. So when my parents-in-law were here last week, there was no other place I wanted to take them to share the essence of San Diego.

Much to the chagrin of my father-in-law, the sun was hidden behind the clouds that day. Having photography as one of his passions, he was excited for his trip to sunny San Diego where he can take beautiful pictures outdoors.

Clutching his huge cameras along with the long lenses, you would think that he was a member of the paparazzi. And paparazzi he was alright, as he would wait patiently and hustle to take pictures, except this time his subjects were not rock stars. He patiently waited for the flock of pelicans gliding the skies as they appear and disappear in the horizon. He captured big waves as they collapsed and small waves as they rippled and touched the shores. He ran near the tracks at the onset of the flashing red light and as the shrieking siren announced the arrival of a moving train.

While Papa Tony was busy capturing pictures, Mama B and I were quietly seated by the bench, relaxing and enjoying the moment.

“Look how the trees are bent away from the ocean,” Mama B said.
 I looked at the trees in astonishment and I couldn’t agree any better. Sometimes it takes a different point of view to see the whole picture.
“They go where the wind takes them,” she said further.

“They go where the wind takes them,” I repeated to myself as I realized that, similarly, my husband and I would not have even been here in America if we had not followed the wind. I could not imagine myself leaving friends and family back home. But as fate would have it, I am now here because I went with the wind.  There I was, seated with the two of the strongest winds in my life… smiling and grateful to all the things my parents in law have done for me… it warmed my heart like no other.


I am sharing with you Pata Tim (braised pork shoulder with star anise and soy sauce). This was one of the first dishes I cooked for my parents-in-law when I was their son’s new bride. (I actually posted  Pata Tim before too). But I remember quite vividly how I wrote down the recipe on an index card with my army of helpers around me. I was a newbie bride and I wanted so much to impress them. Up until this day, the recipe has not changed. I cooked it exactly as I cooked it 20 years ago. This time, however, the index cards were discarded. I cooked it solely with my heart.



  • green onions
  • 3/4 c soy sauce
  • 3/4 c vinegar
  • 3-4 pieces of star anise
  • 3/4 c brown or white sugar
  • 4-5 cups of water (you may add more if the pork in not yet tender)
  • bok-choy for garnishing


  1. Rub green onions onto the pork butt. Heat 2 tbsps of cooking oil on a skillet. Brown all sides of the pork. Set aside.
  2. Caramelize sugar in another pot. Add all the ingredients except the bok choy. Let it boil. Put the pork butt in. Reduce heat when the pot is boiling and cook until the meat is tender. It usually takes 2-3 hours before the meat is tender and for it to have the melt-in-your mouth softness.
  3. Steam the Bok-choy and use it to garnish the Pata-tim. Have a cup of steamed white rice and you are ready to enjoy the melt-in-your mouth goodness of Pata-Tim. Happy cooking!
  4. You could serve the whole thing and carve it on the dinner table. The meat is so tender it will literally fall off the bone.
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 Pata tim

© 2012, Malou @ Skip to Malou. All rights reserved.