Philippine Flavors


When you think of the Philippine Islands, you usually think of the Spanish influence and expect their cuisine to be like that of Spain, but the fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices are somewhat different as the Philippines are located at a latitude farther south than Spain’s. In Spain you’d be served a small piece of meat and a small piece of fish on the same plate. In Manila, though, you’d probably get one or the other. Chicken seems to be a worldwide meat favorite.

In Crete we ate, and cooked at home in Chersonissos Limen,  Kotopoulo me Domathes (Chicken with Tomatoes). Here, using a recipe from the book “Cooking from the Caucasus,” we cooked–at different times–Chicken with Peaches, and with pears, and with apples and cinnamon.

Tonight we’re having a the rest of last night’s main dish, Chicken in Coconut Sauce from the Philippine cookbook son Steve gave me for my birthday in 1987. The recipe serves 4.  You could say we’re having leftovers, but last night we had no garlic. Today Steve bought some; tonight we’ll have  the dish with garlic. It was delicious last night; tonight it will be more authentic. Here is the recipe from the book:

Ginataang Manok
Chicken In Coconut Sauce
4 servings
1 3-pound chicken cut into serving-size pieces
¼ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1-ounce can coconut milk
1 Tablespoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

In a saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is tender and the liquid reduced and somewhat thickened. Serve hot with steamed rice accompanied by a vegetable of your choice. A fruit salad completes the menu.