Chicken meat, along with pork, is one of the most popular meat to use in cooking. Chicken meat is a good source of protein and said to be a healthier alternative for pork which is why health-conscious individuals opt to include chicken in their diet. There are various ways to enjoy this ingredient other than the classic fried chicken. Chicken can be cooked in soups, stews, and even in salad!
This classic dish is a classic favorite next to fried chicken where the chicken is boiled with its broth together with veggies such as carrots and sayote (chayote). Tinola has been popular since the Spanish colonial times. Jose Rizal, our national hero, had even mentioned this dish in his novel, Noli me Tangere where Padre Damaso threw fits over the chicken breast of tinolang manok that was given to their valued guest, Crisostomo Ibarra. What was left for Padre Damaso was the chicken neck which is considered the part given to the least important person in the banquet.
Tinolang manok is the fruit of influence during the Song Dynasty in China. Chinese tradesmen were good herbalists and introduced the health benefits of ginger. Fish sauce was also introduced during those times; thus, the birth of tinolang manok. The original recipe of tinolang manok uses green papaya and pepper leaves. The modern variation of tinolang manok uses sayote instead of green papaya and uses malunggay leaves instead of pepper leaves. Some people uses pork and seafood instead of chicken.
Tinolang manok is similar to binakol and ginataang manok except the latter two use coconut milk and coconut cream. The key to a delectable tinola is infusing the flavor of ginger, onion, fish sauce, and chicken.
Recipe: Tinolang Manok
Adobo is a classic favorite among locals and tourists. Adobo is made with pork or chicken braised with soy sauce and vinegar. Some people like their adobo dry with little sauce enough to add flavor in the meat, some like their sauce sweet that’s why some recipes add muscovado sugar in the sauce, some like it spicy. Some people fry the meat after stewing for a crispy texture.
Adobo is actually a cooking process of marinating and stewing meat or fish in a mixture of soy sauce, spices, and vinegar. Stewing yields a tender texture of the meat with a thick, tangy sauce. Marinating the meat is important in the cooking process. The meat seeps in the flavor from the marinade sauce that adds more flavor in every bite.
The Spaniards called the cooking method adobo which is derived from the Spanish word “adobar”, a Spanish term for marinade. This cooking method was first recorded in 1613. However, adobo is not from Spanish heritage as the ingredients for adobo already existed in the Philippines even before the Spaniards colonized our country. Spaniards labeled most of our native food and other things that existed in pre-colonial times in their language which explains most things were derived from Spanish.
Adobo originated from the idea of developing methods to preserve food in warm climates. Filipino natives used vinegar and soy sauce in food to slow down the bacterial growth in food thanks to the utilized acid from the vinegar and high salt content of soy sauce. Adobo is traditionally cooked in clay pots as it locks in the taste than the metal pots we have today.
Adobong manok is the most popular variation of adobo but this cooking method can be used with other meat including pork and fish. Nowadays, several variations including adobo sa gata and adobong puti are making its way to our cuisine not only to spice up our signature dish but also to show our creativity as Filipinos. Eat adobo with warm, fluffy rice drizzled with the adobo sauce. Bonus tip: eat adobo with your hands for a tastier experience
Recipe: Adobong Manok
Chicken sopas is a comfort food on rainy days and cold weather to warm our body. Chicken sopas is also served when you’re not feeling well to fill our stomach. The thick, creamy sauce with chicken strips, veggies, and macaroni noodles are a perfect combination even during lazy afternoons.
Chicken noodle soup was introduced by the Americans during the American colonial times. Chicken sopas is quite similar with the American version except for a few tweaks to satisfy our palate. The meat is usually cooked first and shredded. The most common meat to use in sopas is chicken but some use diced pork, leftover meat, and sometimes corned beef. The stock is set aside to use after sautéing the onion and garlic. After boiling the stock, diced vegetables are added in the pot until they soften. People usually use carrots, celery, potatoes, and green peas in chicken sopas. Then the elbow macaroni noodles are added along with chopped sausages, hotdogs, or ham. Once cooked, evaporated milk is added. Chicken sopas should be eaten immediately to avoid eating soggy macaroni noodles.
Recipe: Chicken Sopas
Aside from chicken sopas and tinola, sinigang and sinampalukang manok are comfort food during rainy days. There’s something in the rainy season that we anticipate, perhaps the gloomy ambiance or the anticipation of laze around and curl under the sheets or the comfort food we can eat.
Sinampalukang manok is similar with Sinigang. However, this dish is not a Sinigang variant since the main ingredients of sinampalukang manok is sautéed first. Sinampalukang manok uses tamarind leaves and tamarind pulp that makes the broth sour. Unlike Sinigang, sinampalukang manok usually does not include other vegetables other than the tamarind leaves but some variations include kangkong, eggplant, or other types of vegetables. Sinampalukang manok gives us a glimpse of the lives that our ancestors had lived as we sip on the sour soup thanks to the tamarind pulp.
Recipe: Sinampalukang Manok
Who says pineapples only go with pizza? Pininyahang manok is a unique dish that gives off a bold flavor from the combination of pineapple and coconut milk. Some people think pineapple isn’t meant to be combined in other food or as an ingredient (especially on pizza) but chunks of pineapples and coconut milk gives a chicken recipe a unique boost of flavor. Pininyahang manok has a combination of creamy taste from the coconut milk and tangy flavor from the pineapples. Not only is this dish tasty, it also looks good in appearance with a mixture of yellows and reds on the plate.
This dish is basically a Filipino chicken stew with pineapple chunks and all-purpose cream. Some recipes use coconut milk or evaporated milk instead of all-purpose cream. This dish originated from Southern Luzon during the Spanish colonial period because of its abundant harvest of pineapple.
Canned pineapples are usually used in the recipe. The pineapple juice in the can is used to braise the chicken to make it juicier and tastier. Piniyahang manok may also include veggies like diced carrots and potatoes and also bell peppers for extra spice.
The dish should be consumed as soon as possible as it spoils easily because of the milk ingredients.. If you plan to cook piniyahang manok, make sure it is enough for the family to avoid waste and spoilage.
Recipe: Pininyahang Manok sa Gata Recipe
6. Lechon Manok
Another classic favorite aside from fried chicken is lechon manok. Roasted whole chicken is popular among Filipinos because of its smoky flavor, which is slightly different from the crispy fried chicken. Lechon manok is usually served during birthdays and special occasions. The classic lechon manok is a whole chicken stuffed with lemongrasss roasted in an oven or rotisserie.
Lechon manok was invented in the mid-1980s. The unique smoky flavor of lechon manok took the country by storm as it first emerged in the market. Several lechon manok food stalls emerged in different parts of the country, usually accessible in roadsides, providing affordable and delicious roasted chicken. Several variations of lechon manok also emerged as the growing number of stalls increases every year. Some lechon manok are drizzled with honey and garlic bits for a sweet, garlicky flavor while some sell spicy lechon manok. Toyomansi with chili peppers is the best condiment for lechon manok.
Recipe: Litson Manok or Lechon Manok
Beef caldereta may be the most popular variation of a caldereta recipe, but chicken caldereta is just as tasty as the former. Caldereta is a stew made with tomato sauce and meat. The process is similar with any kind of meat except chicken is marinated in pineapple juice and soy sauce for a juicy flavor. This tomato-based stew also includes potatoes and bell peppers for layers of flavor aside from the sweet and tangy taste from the marinated chicken.
Caldereta is derived from the Spanish word caldera which means “cauldron”. The Spaniards brought a similar meat stew from Iberian Peninsula during the Spanish colonial period, to which Filipinos tweaked a bit of the recipe and added their own twist.
Recipe: Chicken Kaldereta
Binakol is a chicken soup made with chicken, papaya chunks and spinach simmered in lemongrass and coconut juice. The use of coconut juice makes this soup unique among other Filipino soups for its sweet taste. The original recipe of this dish, which originated in Batangas, uses native chicken and cook in a bamboo tube with juices,. Binakol is a Kiniray-a term for cooking inside a bamboo tube. Native chicken is preferred in this dish because of its distinct flavor. The Visayan version of this dish includes lemongrass wherein the chicken is simmered in the coconut shelf itself. The cooking style plays an important role in enriching the flavor from the juice and meat. Aside from that, it also showcases our Filipino culture and resourcefulness.
Recipe: Chicken Binakol
Chicken Inasal originated in Negros Occidental and has been a popular dish that you should never miss in your next visit to the city of smiles, Bacolod City. A specific street market in Bacolod called Manokan Country serves a variety of local dishes, particularly inasal. Chicken Inasal is basically grilled or barbecued chicken. Inasal is an Ilonggo term which means “chargrilled” or “roasted meat”. The ordinary barbecue recipe uses soy sauce to marinate the chicken. Chicken inasal has a unique flavor made with different ingredients from the marinade sauce. The chicken parts are marinated in a mixture of calamansi, vinegar, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and atsuete oil to provide a distinct flavor. This dish is often paired with annatto-flavored rice and sinamak (spiced palm vinegar). Chicken Inasal has a distinct yellowish hue because of the application of atsuete or annatto oil.
Recipe: Chicken Inasal
Chicken soups are quite popular in the Philippines as they bring comfort during rainy days and days when we are not feeling well. This chicken soup variation uses sotanghon noodles, or cellophane noodles made from mung bean starch. Unlike other noodles, sotanghon noodles has a transparent quality that is sometimes referred as glass noodles. This soup is made from shredded chicken and sotanghon noodles with a rich broth seasoned with onions, garlic, and ginger. Some recipes include shiitake mushrooms for a delicious umami flavor.
11. Chicken Mami
This dish is made of egg noodles, chicken broth, chicken slices, and veggies topped with fried garlic bits and green onions. Much like chicken sotanghon soup, chicken mami is also a comfort food that Filipinos love during rainy season. The soup brings a heartwarming comfort in every slurp.
12. Chicken Afritada
Chicken Afritada is a dish usually served during special occasions like birthdays, fiestas, and holidays. Afritada is a stew made with tomato sauce with green peas and diced carrots and potatoes with chicken parts. The dish is similar to most tomato-based stews but what sets it apart from most is its cooking process. The first step of the cooking process is frying the chicken and other ingredients before stewing them with tomato sauce. Afritada comes from the Spanish word “fritada” which means “fried”. Afritada is adapted from the Spanish cuisine during the Spanish colonial times. A variation of afritada is cooked hamonado-style which uses pineapple chunks to sweeten the dish. Pineapple afritada bores resemblance with Pininyahang manok except the latter does not use tomato sauce.
Recipe: Chicken Afritada
13. Chicken Pastel
Chicken Pastel is the Filipino version of Chicken Pot Pie without the pie. It is made from chicken with a thick, creamy sauce, sausages, and vegetables. The classic chicken pastel is encased in a pie crust and baked. This dish is also called Pastel de Pollo in Spanish.
Pastel in most Latin countries are thin crust pies filled with assorted fillings, fried in vegetable oil. The pastel recipe in Latin countries include shredded or grated cheese to make the dish creamier. In the Philippines, some recipes include a sort of pastry in this dish. This dish is quite similar with the classic empanada. However, some Filipinos ditch the use of any bread in this recipe to pair it with rice instead. Most pastel recipes use mushrooms, potatoes, and peas with peppers for a burst of spicy flavor. With or without the pie crust, Filipinos enjoy eating this savory casserole dish.
Recipe: Chicken Pastel
Macaroni salad is an all-time favorite in any special occasion. Macaroni salad may be adapted from Western cuisine but this dish made every Filipinos swoon on its fruity and creamy flavor. Chicken Macaroni salad is made from elbow macaroni, shredded chicken, assorted chunks of fruits, raisin, cubed ham and cheese in a creamy sauce. Macaroni salad is best served cold. Like most creamy dishes, chicken macaroni salad spoils quickly and should be consumed within 3 days if refrigerated. It is not recommended to keep the salad in the freezer since it will lose its creaminess once frozen.
Recipe: Macaroni Chicken Salad