The food of the Philippines remains largely unknown – but not anymore! Allow us to introduce you to delicious chicken afritada.
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Heat half the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, in batches, turning occasionally, for 3-4 mins or until brown all over. Transfer to a plate.
Add the onion, garlic, carrot and potato to the pan. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until onion softens. Add the combined capsicum.
Combine the passata, 1 cup (250ml) water, chicken stock powder, sugar, pepper and fish sauce in a jug. Add to the pan and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 45 mins or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Stir in peas. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 mins or until peas are heated through.
Divide afritada among serving plates. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with rice.
Chicken afritada, or ‘afritadang manok’, is a Filipino stew that’s rich, hearty and full of flavour. Chicken is cooked until lusciously tender in a tomato-based sauce along with a variety of vegetables to make a complete meal. It’s wonderfully easy to make and it’s perfect for a weekend lunch or midweek dinner to relax over and enjoy with family and friends.
Chicken and a passata-style sauce are the hero ingredients of afritada chicken – the other key ingredients are the vegetables. The majority of afritada recipes use capsicum, carrot and potato, but other vegetables can be added, like the peas we use in this recipe. The Philippines is a former Spanish colony, so its cuisine is inspired by the flavours of Spain. But over the years, local flavours have been incorporated to create fusion dishes such as afritada. In this instance, fish sauce, which is used in many South-East Asian dishes, gives that familiar briny umami hint that is also at home in Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian dishes.
Chicken afritada is all about heartiness, so using bone-in chicken pieces like drumsticks will provide a sumptuous depth of flavour to the stew. Drumsticks and thighs have a higher fat content than chicken breasts, so the meat stays fall-off-the-bone tender. Chicken breast meat may become dry and toughen during the cooking method.
While the chicken and vegetables make it a meal in itself, afritada is traditionally served with steamed rice. It is an Asian dish, afterall. However, not forgetting the Spanish influence, a bowl of crusty bread would go well with it, too – especially when it comes to mopping up that delicious sauce, you won’t want to waste a drop.
If you’d like to explore the flavours of the Philippines, try our sopas recipe. This creamy chicken dish is a Filipino take on a creamy chicken noodle soup and is wonderfully comforting. Chicken adobo is another must try. Succulent chicken marinated in a tangy yet rich soy garlic sauce, this Philippines-inspired dinner dish is one your family will love. It’s quick and easy, too.