chicken / poultry family / friends

Pinatisang Manok (Chicken Stewed in Fish Sauce)

Saturday, March 08, 2014Enz F

Fish Sauce is the main flavoring used in cooking Pinatisang Manok.

I had easily fallen inlove with this dish. The first time I get to try Pinatisang Manok was when I attended a get together with my long old friends. It was actually a mini-Christmas-slashed-potluck-slashed-get-together-slashed-catching-up party. It had long been planned but we were not able to pursue due to our busy-ness and personal issues in life. And finally after 3 years (that was quite a while), we were able to push this through, minus the two of our friends who were not able to come due to prior and more important commitments. But then, thankful because majority of us were present. One of us even cancelled his trip to Ilocos just to make sure he would not miss this very rare occasion. Yes, we understood. Everyone has his own sets of priorities in life. We can always catch up again anytime but when our time permit.

Going back, as I mentioned, it was also a potluck party and everyone was requested to bring any kind of food that he could share. And since Tyrone was the one hosting the party, he had all the liberty to cook and prepare anything he wanted at the comfort of his kitchen, while the rest (being the guests) could either buy whatever they can grab along the way or bring a pre-cooked meal good for at least 5 persons. But then, we did not want it just “whatever you pick and go” so we really planned and scrutinized who would do and where is best to get the stuffs we needed, say someone would be in charge of the cake since there is a nearby pastry shop along his way or the one who would opt to make the salad and grilled fish might as well go to Tyrone’s earlier and do the preparation a little later so the salad will not lapse and food will be served fresh in time for dinner. We painstakingly assigned every chores at everyone's convenience with less cost and avoiding redundancy – complete details with the exact food, exact time and exact meeting place; everyone was so happy and seemed to agree. Imagine how great a task of organizing the event for a group of only 5 people and holy cow! Last minute modifications, and more than fifty percent of what has planned were altered and not accomplished very well. No salad and boy, we were flooded with chicken and pork barbecue! And seriously, someone was either too late for dinner or too early for breakfast. Haha! That is the beauty of familiarizing your friends head-to-toe and through-and-through that you get too used to their fault and flaws, and you just already know what to expect from them. It was really like déjà vu, only in different clothes and at different venue. I really have a wonderful set, each with their own rareness, inimitability, stubbornness and err, imperfections!

Pinatisang Manok is like a tasty tinola minus the papaya and the broth.

During our “planning session”, Tyrone was already bragging about this very simple yet one of a kind chicken dish. I was really intrigued about this as it was a “never heard” to me. Knowing Tyrone’s fussiness to a lot of things, especially to food, this one was something really to expect and to look forward to. Come dinner time (we were so famished!) and true enough, pinatisang manok was a no-frills dish but really tasty. It was like tinolang manok (ginger stewed chicken) without the broth and papaya, a chicken well-marinated with savory fish sauce bathing on its own fats. This dish might get tastier and better the longer it is marinated and stocked.

I was able to nibble a few chops and was really feeling full right after. I was actually shunning meat that time as I was still recuperating from my minor stomach surgery, and this chicken dish was a better alternative to salad than the gummy grilled pork liempo (pork belly) which was also one of the choices available then, and way better to eat something than nothing. I  was despising the idea of celebrating the eve of New Year back at the hospital's operating room, yay!

I have the peskiest and weirdest but the most wonderful set of friends.

Our night was really filled with fun and packed with throwback stories. We updated ourselves with everyone’s lives and whereabouts, and played the “Pinoy Henyo” game (somewhat a charade minus the hand symbols) in my smartphone. And truly, we pigged out. I must confess, that was the first time I ate a whole bunch after a few months. We talked and laughed and talked and laughed. We were the noisiest house in the neighborhood. But who cares? It only happens once in a blue moon so just laugh out to our heart’s content. When we got quite tired, we decided to start our mini open forum. That was the time when we gathered the more serious sides of ourselves. All together, we reminisced, realized, resolved the unresolved and committed ourselves in the future to put closure to whatever grudges we are still holding in our hearts. Boys do not cry, but we did. The friendship that we had planted 10 years ago is now into a full blossom. Everything was too simple back then. We were too young and too aggressive, but now we have grown smarter and more determined. Everything now appears so quick and we seem to always run after time, chasing our individual goals. But no matter how humble we had started and how busy we may have become, the bond and closeness that we all together built would always be the tough wall that we could always lean unto everytime we are stunned and shakened by our grown up predicaments. And that wall we agreed to keep towering and strong in the future and beyond. A friendship that we will savor and enjoy, getting even better and tastier, as time goes by.

Preparing Pinatisang Manok is as easy as cooking Tinola.
  • 2 lbs. chicken, cleaned and cut into serving slices
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. whole peppercorns
  • 1 bundle of chili leaves
  • 5 tbsps. patis (fish sauce)
  • 2-3 cups water (for boiling)
  • 2 tbsps. pork lard

A no-frills chicken dish but very savory.

Commonly commercialized chicken yields more meat.
  1. Boil the chicken in a pot until slightly tender. Drain the chicken and set aside the broth.
  2. In a bowl, combine the chicken, patis and peppercorns. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the pork lard in a large sauce pan and sauté the garlic, onion and ginger until very fragrant.
  4. Add the marinated chicken and stir continuously until it turns light brown.
  5. Pour in the marinade mixture and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Gradually pour in the chicken broth just enough to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is fork tender. Add more broth if necessary.
  7. Add the chili leaves and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat.
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm. Enjoy!

**Number of Servings: 4 to 5

  1. If you want meatier and easier to cook, you may use the commercialized chicken. But if you want it more flavorful and tastier, use native chicken. You just need to cook the chicken longer to tenderize the meat.
    Just like Tinola, chili pepper leaves make the finishing touch for Pinatisang Manok.
  2. It is best eaten with side dish or dips like tomatoes, toyo-mansi (mixture of soy sauce and calamandin juice) and patis-mansi (mixture of fish sauce and calamondin juice).
  3. You may substitute chili pepper leaves with spinach, malunggay (moringa) leaves or bok choy.

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