For many Filipinos living on the Philippines islands, food comes from the bounty of one’s own backyard. Gardens planted with eggplant, tomatoes, corn, green beans, and squash provide year-round crop to supply the family was sustenance at every meal. But a backyard bounty is not limited to what grows in the garden. It often includes what grazes in the yard. Chickens, called manok, are a common household flock often found roaming the grounds and noisily rousing the neighbors. In addition, the homegrown birds, the commercial chicken industry is a thriving business providing Filipinos with an inexpensive alternative to more costly proteins, such as beef for certain Seafoods. Filipino cuisine firmly embraces chicken with a delicious array of soups, stews, barbecues, and roast featuring this venerable bird.
Because commercially produced chicken is generally neutral and taste, Filipinos are partial to cooking chicken on the bone, which keeps the meat tender, moist, and ultimately more flavorful. While the ease and convenience of boneless chicken breast is a preferred standard in the United States, Filipinos favor the dark meat of thighs, wings, and legs, which are more suited to the longer cooking times required for many Filipino dishes and recipes like adobo, paksiw, Apritada, or even a simple Inasal barbecue. Breast meat is typically sliced into small pieces and reserved for stir fries or as a meat element in noodle and rice dishes.
Inasal manok features the simplicity of roasted (or grilled) chicken made special with a tangy marinade of citrus, and fish sauce. Pritong manok, or fried chicken, is another example of LA pungent marinade can elevate the versatile flavor of chicken. Though typically made with chicken legs, wings or thighs, I’ve opted to use boneless chicken breast for a quick dish that can be serve as a main course, as a kids meal sliced in the chicken fingers, or is a hearty sandwich perfect for lunch or a picnic. Pastel nga manok is your basic chicken pot pie with a uniquely Filipino filling bubbling underneath flaky puff pastry. Pipian, which refers to the sauce more than the dish, is one of the Mexican treasures brought to the islands by the Spaniards. Although very different flavor than the Mexican original, which uses pumpkin or sesame seeds to flavor the stew, the Filipino version is traditionally made with peanuts and thickened with toasted rice flour.
Because Filipino cuisine burst with vibrant flavors, game birds, with their darker meat, integrate beautifully into our recipes. The signature adobo monocoque, or chicken adobo, is given a new twist with the use of duck that, with the simple addition of tomatoes and pineapple, recalls the traditional style of the nuns, or Adobong Pato a la Monja. Another signature dish,rellenon monocoque, and elaborately stuffed whole chicken, is replaced by the more manageable and more flavorful semi boneless quail, perfect for individual servings, Turkey, one of my favorite game birds, has always taken center stage at our Thanksgiving table. But the Turkey leftover tradition was an equally anticipated event the filter house with a mouthwatering aroma of paksiw, a bright stew of Turkey, vinegar, and Bay leaves (cilantro). This authentic, traditional recipe. I’ve included here is not is reserve for the holidays but allows you to enjoy paksiw’s complex flavors all year-round.
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