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Filipino tamarind chicken stew (Sinampalukang manok)

I am slowly cooking more Filipino cuisine and learning about the diversity of the flavours and cooking techniques (check out this very different Yellow adobo with chicken recipe. Except for a few very specific ingredients, like sugarcane vinegar and bagoong, the cuisine is relatively simple and delicious.

This stew is no exception and is a very simple recipe. The thin sauce is bright with tamarind and the chillies add a lingering heat on the back palate that persists. The chicken is super soft and has absorbed the flavours wonderfully. This stew adds freshness to the table and is best enjoyed with rice.

This cookbook has been one that has been hiding on my shelf and I am glad I finally took it out and made something from it. It is a wonderful cookbook on authentic Filipino cuisine, full of recipes and wonderful photographs. These islands have a very unique cuisine, one that I have had at restaurants and friends' houses. Here is a start to my delving deeper into this cuisine. The chefs, Kim and Miguel have 2 New York restaurants (Maharlika and Jeepney) and are both very actively involved in promoting Filipino food in the US. The Bay Area where I used to live had a vivid Filipino restaurant scene with amazing food.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


2 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, sliced

2 lb chicken meat of your choice, skin on if preferred

2 cups water or chicken stock

2-3 tablespoons tamarind paste

2 -1-inch pieces of lemongrass, lightly bruised

2-3 green chillies, halved longitudinally

A few drops of fish sauce

Salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot and cook the onions on low heat till they are soft and translucent about 4 minutes. Do not brown.

Add the chicken and turn the heat up to medium and cook till the chicken turns white and is sealed. Add the water/stock, tamarind, lemongrass, fish sauce and salt. green chillies. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 45 minutes till the chicken is very soft. Stir the pot occasionally and make sure there are enough liquids and the sauce does not dry out. top up with more water/stock as needed.

Taste for salt and tartness. the sauce should be thin and bright with tartness with a lingering heat at the end.

Serve hot with rice.

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