Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Filipino Chicken Two Ways- Tangy Asado and Fried...

Chicken is the most popular eaten meat. There's never ending ways to cook it and I find people are always looking for new recipes to try as they get stuck in the rut of cooking chicken the same way over and over again. Chicken is a great medium to absorb spices and seasoning well and it cooks fairly quickly. I love bone-in pieces for the additional flavour the bones provide and it's cheaper than boneless cuts. As I explore the world of Filipino foods, I find cane vinegar (less acidic than western) and bay leaves are often used imparting the most wonderful tangy and aromatic flavours as a marinade or in the cooking. Well, here are two great Filipino recipes to shake up your poultry routine adapted from The Filipino Cookbook by Miki Garcia. Two contrasting tastes- one that is a saucy tangy Asado Chicken and the other deep-fried crispy Filipino Fried Chicken.

Tangy Asado Chicken and Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Similar to Italian chicken cacciatore, Asado Chicken is a mildly spicy and tangy chicken dish simmered in tomatoes, soy and cane vinegar. Its highlights the crossover of Chinese flavours in Philippine cuisine. To appease to your family tastes, cook up a batch according to recipe and remove half onto a plate before tossing chilies to the remainder for members who like the heat.

Tangy Asado Chicken
Makes 4-6 servings

2 Tbsp. oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, finely sliced (I had some green onion ends and added these too)
2-1/2 to 3 lbs. bone-in chicken pieces (I like using chicken legs as dark meat is juicy and flavourful. I buy them whole, and cut at the joints to separate thigh and drumstick- cheaper)
1 tsp. salt
2 or 3 tomatoes, large diced
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp. cane vinegar (or white or cider vinegar 3 parts diluted with 1 part water)
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. paprika
ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. dark soy sauce
1 to 2 green chilies, chopped (remove seeds if the chilies are especially spicy) *optional

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in skillet over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onions until fragrant and lightly golden; remove and set aside. Rub the chicken with salt. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet and cook the chicken on both sides until lightly browned, about ten minutes. Set aside.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, vinegar and water to same skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Return the chicken, garlic and onion mixture, paprika, pepper and soy sauces; cook for 20 minutes uncovered, or until tender.

If you want to add spiciness to part of the dish, remove part of the chicken mixture onto a plate, then toss the chopped chilies and toss for one or two minutes.

Two dishes- one regular and one slightly spicy to serve at the family table with steamed rice.

My boys loving the flavours, and adding their own favourite pepper sauce anyway!

Create your own fried chicken at home- yes you can do it and you can control your spices and flavourings. Filipino-style fried chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy moist on the inside. You can use all types of bone-in cuts but today I had chicken drumsticks and loved cooking them uniformly as they were all around the same size. What brings out the delicious juicy flavour are the cane vinegar and seasoning that seeps into the chicken when they are simmered together to cook first before breading and frying to lock in the juices inside. I like using 1 part all-purpose flour and 1/2 part potato starch to create a light crispy batter that is associated with Asian deep-fried foods. The classic way to serve Filipino fried chicken is with banana ketchup and some kind of vinegar based sauce.

Filipino Fried Chicken
Makes 4-6 servings

1 tsp. oil
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cane vinegar (or white or cider vinegar 3 parts diluted with 1 part water)
3 cups water or enough to just cover chicken
2-1/2 to 3 lbs. bone-in chicken pieces (I like using chicken legs as dark meat is juicy and flavourful. I buy them whole, and cut at the joints to separate thigh and drumstick- cheaper)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup potato starch
3 cups oil for deep-frying (peanut or canola oil are great choices)
vinegar soy dip and store-bought banana ketchup

NOTE: banana ketchup is made from bananas, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and spices. It's sweet and sour doesn't taste anything like bananas, and readily available in Asian grocers. Regular ketchup is a perfect substitute.

In a skillet or saucepan, sauté the garlic in oil over medium heat until fragrant, Add vinegar, water, bay leaf, soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp. salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then add the chicken. Cook over high heat for ten minutes. Drain and carefully pat chicken dry with paper towels.

If using same skillet/saucepan to fry, make sure you rinse and dry well before adding oil or hot oil will spit and splatter. Add oil and heat on medium-high heat. In the meanwhile, mix the flours and remaining 1/2 Tbsp. salt in a large bowl for breading. Add the chicken and coat the pieces evenly. Place breaded chicken on a tray or baking sheet. TIP: Make sure you bread right before frying otherwise the chicken with get moist and create a messy splattering during deep-frying.

Use a chopstick or wooden skewer to check if oil is hot enough. It is when bubbles form all around the stick when inserted in the centre of oil. A deep-fryer thermometer will register between 350F to 375F when ready. Deep-fry the chicken pieces for about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not overcrowd the pan or chicken won't cook evenly. NOTE: Better yet, use the burner on your BBQ and leave the cooking and smells outside!!!

Keep a strainer nearby to remove any floating burnt debris to keep oil clean to cook chicken nicely.
And use a splatter screen to keep oil from flying everywhere.

Place a cooling rack over a paper-towel lined tray or plate to drain the cooked chicken.

Served chicken with a side of deep-fried onion rings (why not go all out with a deep-fried foods affair), lemon wedges, chilies, sliced onions and full sour pickle wedges.

Deep-fried foods goes so well with a side of crunchy cabbage salad served with a drizzle of Japanese kewpie mayo, and banana ketchup, garlic mayonnaise and vinegar soy dip for the chicken.


This chili pepper is not too spicy mom! Yikes!

Crispy and juicy moist! Home-style deep-fried chicken is REALLY finger-lickin' GOOD!

If you like Filipino cuisine or want to discover some new flavours give these a try: Filipino Sautéed Marinated Clams and my Kamayan eating experience post with lots of great BBQ recipes to try with all kinds of meats and seafood.

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