Try this Chicken Binakol made extra flavorful with coconut juice, ginger, and lemongrass. Delicious and refreshing, this Filipino soup is perfect on its own or with steamed rice!
If food blogging were just a matter of cooking, I’d probably have a lot more recipes on Kawaling Pinoy than the 400-plus we currently have. But then, food blogging is a much bigger process that involves nitty-gritty stuff like photography and writing. Sometimes, I’d sit in front of my computer for hours, twiddling my thumbs, at a loss for words on how to describe a dish. I mean, really, how many different ways can I say delicious?
This chicken binakol, however, requires no fancy introduction. All I need to describe its flavors are three letters. O.M.G.
I was eating a bowl of it, piping-hot from the pot, and I couldn’t get over how seriously good it was. With succulent chicken, papaya chunks, and green spinach in a peppery ginger broth, it’s kind of like tinola but with a particular je ne sais quoi which makes it so much better. The addition of earthy lemongrass, tender young coconut, and sweet coconut juice takes it a notch above. It’s a hearty and tasty soup you’ll love year-round!
What is Binakoe na Manok
Binakol is a type of Filipino soup that originated from the Aklan province. It’s traditionally cooked in a fresh node of bamboo or halved coconut shells.
The dressed native chicken is pounded or beaten down to make the meat tender, cut into serving pieces, and cooked low and slow in coconut water with onions, ginger, and lemongrass. Aeabihig leaves or fruits are usually added for a hint of sourness as well as papaya or chayote, and leafy vegetables such as fresh chili leaves complete the dish.
Helpful Cooking Tips
- Although you can use boneless, I highly suggest bone-in chicken cut into serving parts for maximum flavor. If you have access to native chicken, so much the better. They’re higher in protein and lower in fat than commercial broilers and their long cook time brings a more intense taste.
- For the best texture, choose young coconut that’s meaty yet tender.
- The recipe calls for fresh spinach, but chili leaves are also great options. Chayote can also be substituted for the green papaya.
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 thumb-size ginger, peeled and julienned
- 1 (about 3 to 4 pounds) whole native chicken, cut into serving parts
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 4 cups coconut juice
- 1 cup young coconut meat
- 1 green papaya, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 bunch spinach, stemmed and leaves separated
- Cut the stem and leaf ends of the lemongrass. Peel a few layers to get to the white part. Cut into 2-inch lengths and pound until with the back of a knife to release flavor. Set aside.
- In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook until softened.
- Add chicken and cook until color changes and juices run clear.
- Add fish sauce and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add coconut juice and bring to a boil, skimming any scum that may float on top.
- Add lemongrass.
- Lower heat, cover and continue to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Add papaya and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until tender.
- Add coconut meat and cook until heated through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add spinach leaves, pushing down into the broth. Turn off heat and cover pot. Serve hot.