If food blogging was just a matter of cooking, I’ll probably have lot more recipes on Kawaling Pinoy than the 400-plus we currently have. But then, food blogging is a much bigger process which involves nitty-gritty stuff like photo taking, photo editing, writing and promoting. Unfortunately, even after three years, I still struggle heavily with food photography. Of the 4 to 6 recipes I do weekly, a good percentage don’t even make it on the blog even though they worked because the pictures tanked. And then, there’s the actual writing of the post. Sometimes, I’d sit in front of my computer for hours, twiddling my thumbs, at a lost for words on how to sell you on the recipe. 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.
Yes, truly! 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 pieces, papaya chunks and verdant spinach leaves in a peppery ginger broth, it’s kind of like tinola but with a certain je ne sais quoi which makes it so much better. The addition of earthy lemongrass, tender young coconut and sweet coconut juice definitely takes this chicken soup a notch above. Give this binakol na manok a try for dinner tonight and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you.
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon 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 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 (or fresh chili leaves), ends trimmed
- Cut the stem and leaf ends of the lemongrass and peel a few layers until you get to the white part. Cut into 2-inch lengths and then pound until flattened to release flavor. Set aside.
- In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and aromatic.
- Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken changes color and juices run clear. Add fish sauce and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add coconut juice and bring to a boil, skimming any scum that may float on top. Lower heat, cover and continue to cook for about 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Add papaya and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until tender. When papaya is almost done, add coconut meat and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add spinach leaves, pushing down into broth. Turn off heat and cover pot. Serve hot.