Filipino cuisine is as unique and diverse as its 7,107 Islands. My blog will focus on recipes that I’ve learned and observed from my Lola (Grandma), my Nanay (Mother) and the people that I meet during my travels. I will focus on the cuisine of the islands in the middle part of the country. The western part of the visayan islands, home of the Ilonggo.
My birthplace Roxas City, is dubbed the seafood capital of the Philippines. I live about 10 minutes away from the beach and on some afternoons we would watch the local fishermen bring home their catch from their “pukot” (a style of netting fish) and we would have a bed of hot coals waiting for the fresh fish. The cuisine in my hometown is all about simplicity and freshness. Sometimes sea salt is all we add to fresh fish to enhance the flavor of the seafood and not cover it with sauce.
It is also my goal to help bring awareness of Filipino cuisine to the world. We are a country not only diverse geographically but we are a melting pot of cultures. Spanish, Chinese and Malay cultures have made their mark on our soil and on our cuisine. In a local “handaan” or banquet, you would see food on the table like Spanish Paella, Chinese spring rolls or Chicken curry along with the rest of the local delicacies.
It’s time for Filipino food to come front and center, but in order to do that we have to elevate it into an art form. So it can belong not only in our beloved carinderia but also in fine restaurants anywhere in the world.
Chicken Binakol Roxas Style
Here is my first recipe. This recipe is not only Visayan, but it is uniquely Ilonggo. We call this dish “Binakol”. What’s unique about this dish is it uses the water of a young coconut as part of the broth and they used to cook this inside a makeshift bamboo pot and slowly cooked over hot coals. So you can imagine the aroma of the lemongrass, the coconut and the bamboo permeating the soup. Namit!
- Free range chicken or Cornish hen (Back home we use a variety they call “Bisaya”, it is basically a native free range chicken that is very flavorful. )
- Kamias (Iba in visayan)
- Lemongrass (Tanglad)
- Ginger (julienned)
- Garlic (chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chili (Siling haba)
- Young coconut
- Chicken bouillon (If you don’t have enough chicken bones and time to prepare the stock)
- Saute the ginger and garlic until fragrant
- Add the chicken and continue to saute until slightly brown
- Add the coconut water and coconut meat, add some water to cover the chicken
- Bring to a boil for a couple of minutes
- Bring the pot to a simmer and add the Kamias and the lemongrass.
- Depending on how spicy you want the dish to be you can add the Chili sooner, but I like to add it towards the end.
Serve hot and Enjoy!