Chicken tapa marinated in soy sauce, lemon juice, and fresh garlic. Serve with garlic fried rice and sunny side up eggs for a delicious morning treat!
If you love the tangy and savory flavors of tapa, this chicken version needs to be on your cooking list! Marinated in the same mixture of soy sauce, citrus juice, and copious amounts of garlic, boneless and skinless chicken thigh meat turns out equally delicious and full-flavored as its beef counterpart.
Not only is it just as tasty, but chicken tapa is also more budget-friendly and a great alternative if you’re refraining from red meat.
Ingredients for Chicken Tapa
- Lemon or calamansi juice-tenderizes the meat and adds a tangy taste
- Soy sauce-acts as a brining agent and boosts umami flavors
- Fresh minced garlic-brings another layer of flavor; substitute 1 tablespoon of garlic powder if fresh cloves are not available
- Sugar-balances the acidic component with a hint of sweetness; helps caramelize the meat
- Salt-rounds up the salty flavor and acts as a brining agent along with the soy sauce
- Pepper-adds a kick of heat
- Chicken-breast tends to get dry quickly; use boneless, skinless thigh meat for more fat and flavor
Tips on How to Make Chicken Tapa
- Chicken breasts tend to overcook and dry out quickly. Use boneless, skinless chicken leg or thigh meat for best flavor and texture.
- Due to the acids in the marinade, it’s best to use non-reactive material for marinating such as a plastic, stainless steel or glass bowl.
- The recipe uses lemon juice but vinegar, pickle juice or wine will work as well.
- I don’t recommend marinating longer than overnight as the acids in the lemon juice will denature the meat, turning it mushy. I find an average of 4 to 6 hours (or overnight at best) of marination enough to impart desired flavors.
- If you want to freeze the tapa for future use, drain the chicken from the liquid and store in resealable bags or airtight containers.
- The tapa can be pan-fried on the stove or grilled over hot coals until lightly browned and cooked through.
- For food safety, use a thermometer to accurately gauge doneness. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; the safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165 Fahrenheit (75° Celsius).
How to Serve Tapa
As with tocino and longganisa, tapa is best served with garlic fried and sunny side eggs for a delicious all-day breakfast meal. To complete the delicious experience, the hearty combo is usually enjoyed alongside condiments such as tomato salad, spicy vinegar or atchara.
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thigh or leg meat
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- In a non-reactive bowl, combine soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Add chicken and massage to fully coat with marinade. Keep overnight in the refrigerator to cure. Drain meat from marinade.
- In a wide pan over medium heat, heat about 2 tablespoons oil. Add chicken in a single layer and cook, turning on sides as needed, until meat is lightly browned and cooked through.
- Remove from pan and cut into serving portions. Serve hot.