Day 5 #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines brings us to The Ambassador In Paradise Hotel and a tasty lunch where we all order traditional Filipino dishes from the menu.  Adobo for me, which I have fallen in love with, and the dish which seems to have at least 100 recipes on how to make it as each island and family have their own version – I must admit I love those which are heavy on the garlic as one of my favourite recipes, anyway I digress.  One of our guides orders a dish of Chicken Binakol which is fragrant, sweet and full of rich tastes and textures of coconut, it’s just begging to be slurped right off the spoon, though to be fair as it’s not my dish, I decide to reserve that treat for another day …

I digress, Chef Fortune, the Executive Chef of the resort, has invited us below ground to the kitchen to learn how this traditional yet rustic Filipino dish is made. And so, as he cooks the dish, he explains a little about the kitchen and it’s staff.  In the resort since 2008 Chef Fortune recruited and built the team from scratch, spending time on developing a team of skilled staff who are passionate about their cooking and the food they produce.  The menu, which Chef Fortune developed is european and asian and then some … . Developed to suit many different palates, Chef explains that feedback from customers about Filipino food is very positive with fish being an extremely popular choice as well as the dishes we ordered for lunch.

Chatting to the chef, you can feel his passion, and you pick this up as you wander through the kitchen, beautiful food is being turned out even during late afternoon where there are still quite a few orders being despatched to hungry diners, and the cakes in the pastry section look particularly good – especially the Brazo de Mercedes which his featured here.

Chef prepares for us Chicken Binakol a traditional Filiipino dish which is essentially Chicken Breast Stewed in Coconut Water, Lemongrass, and Ginger.  Its quite an easy dish to prepare but delivers in terms of flavours :

Ingredients

  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Onion – approx 1/2 small red or brown onion
  • Garlic – couple cloves
  • Lemon Grass – 1 stalk split and bruised a little to release the oil
  • Chicken (deboned and ideally Grain or Corn Fed free-range)
  • Corn Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Tumeric powder 1 – teaspoon
  • Brown Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Coconut – water and flesh from 1 young coconut
  • Salt – few pinches
  • 1/2 chicken stock cube
  • 1/4 can coconut milk

Method

  • Heat about a tablespoon of corn oil until it is hot, then add the ginger, garlic and onions
  • Fry for a few minutes and then add the chicken
  • Stir fry all of the above until they start turning colour and caramelising
  • Add about 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • Put the saucepan lid on and leave to sweat for  a few minutes
  • Add enough coconut water to cover the ingredients plus about another 1 inch of fluid (2.5 cms)
  • Cover and leave to simmer for approximately 20 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked
  • Taste the sauce and add a little bit of sugar to sweeten if you want it sweeter
  • Add a pinch or two of salt and 1/2 a chicken stock cube
  • Add 1/4 can of coconut milk
  • Stir everything together to heat through
  • Stir in the coconut flesh
  • Remove the lemon grass stalk and serve in a dish with some chopped spring onions on top

To Serve

  • Remove the lemon grass stalk
  • Serve in a dish with some chopped spring onion on top
  • Serve with steamed rice and a great big spoon to slurp the juices from

Thanks to Chef Fortune and the team for allowing us to invade their kitchen.

 

 

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