Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ginataang Manok, Kalabasa at Malunggay

(Chicken, Squash and Moringa leaves cooked in Coconut Cream)

Nobody ever believes me when I say that there are days when I (definitely) do not want to cook.  And, even when they understand that I have no-cook days, they certainly don't believe that I sometimes take out food from a turo-turo (literally point-point, referring to a small eatery where the customer simply points to the already cooked food to indicate his choice).

This is one of those dishes that I first encountered in a turo-turo...  and I loved it!

I've tried to recreate it a couple of times but failed - somehow the flavor profile had always been wrong.  Until someone gave me the brilliant idea of using patis (fish sauce).  Ok, this is a dish that I would never, ever had succeeded at considering the patis ban in my kitchen.  But having authentic Thai patis is an exception!  It turns out the secret to the dish is the patis!

3 thin slices of ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium Spanish onion, sliced thinly
800 grams chicken legs, rinsed and cleaned
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 wedge of kalabasa (about 1/8 of a big one or 1/4 of a medium one), peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons patis/fish sauce, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
handful of malunggay leaves (Moringa)

Saute the ginger, garlic and onion until fragrant.  Put in the chicken to brown; season with a large pinch of sea salt.  When the chicken is lightly browned, pour in the coconut cream and stock.  When the mixture boils, add the cubed kalabasa.  Season to taste with patis, sea salt and pepper.  Simmer until the chicken and kalabasa are almost done (I like it when a bit of the kalabasa melts into the sauce).  Throw in the malunggay and let simmer a couple of minutes more.  Serve hot over rice!

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