Soup week: Day 5. For chicken as the main ingredient, lets go back to the Philippines and end it with a very interesting soup called Chicken Binakol.
Chicken Binakol is a chicken soup dish similar to Tinola but instead of using rice wash or normal water this chicken soup dish is cooked in coconut water. There are two variations of this dish: the Batangas version; wherein they usually use a very flavourful and lean chicken meat from Philippine Native Chicken and cooked slowly for long period in a bamboo tube, and the Visayan version; wherein it is cooked with lemongrass and simmered in a coconut shell.
We’re gonna try the Visayan version; a very uniquely flavoured soup due to the use of coconut water and meat where it adds sweetness to the dish. The lemongrass and ginger gives it a fresh taste while the sea salt or fish sauce gives it some saltiness. The final result is phenomenal. The variations in taste are complementing with each other resulting to a very savoury dish.
800g chicken thighs
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 thumb sized ginger, sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, white end part
2 large young coconuts
sea salt or fish sauce
freshly ground black pepper
handful of chilli or capsicum leaves
1. Brush chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
2. Prepare your coconuts by boring a hole on top then pouring the coconut water in a separate container. Cut coconuts in half then scrape out the meat using a spoon. Set it aside.
3. In a pot, add oil then brown chicken pieces on all sides. Remove chicken from pot then set aside.
4. In the same pot, sauté garlic, onion and ginger then add the coconut water, lemongrass and chicken (if the coconut meat is a bit hard you can add it at this stage, otherwise add it at the end) then bring it to a boil. Simmer in low heat for 25 minutes (if using native chicken you have to simmer it for at least an hour or longer until chicken is tender).
5. Add chilli leaves (this is where you add the coconut meat if it’s soft) then simmer for 2 more minutes.
6. Season with sea salt / fish sauce according to taste. Serve it on a bowl or coconut shells.