Various version of the chicken binacol recipe exist, but this one is my take. I catered this dish to a group of physicians and received a standing ovation for it. A friend shared this recipe to me along with a sad story of an American officer in the US air force who was airlifted to the US from the Philippines close to the end of world war 11.The malnourished, near death male officer was clutching a little notebook where addresses and important events were recorded. In this notebook, he wrote the ingredients, not the recipe for chicken binacol.
Binacol is a dish that originated from Aklan,one of the provinces in Panay, probably where the soldier was stationed. In Batangas,a Province of Quezon located in the Calabarzon region in the Island of Luzon, the recipe for binacol calls for tuba, a freshly harvested sap from the coconut tree. In Aklan, a province located in the western part of the visayan island and the origin of my recipe, the cooking vessel used is the whole young coconut shell straight from the tree. The young coconut is topped to sliced open. The coconut water drained and reserved. The coconut meat shredded and the chicken,lemon grass, ginger, galangal,seasonings etc are placed inside the coconut shell and plus the coconut water. The top replaced and the filled young coconut shell is placed upright in a fire pit to cook. As in any dish, a recipe is developed using what is available in the area. One of the distinct difference that sets my recipe apart from the other chicken binacol recipe is the ingredients. I categorize this dish as a soup entree like bouillabaise. Try it and you will know what I mean.
Serves 4-6 servings
4 whole chicken leg . Put in a large soup pot with 1 gallon water. Add to the pot lemon grass leaf tied in a knot and the chopped galangal. When chicken is soft,turn off stove and cool. Discard the lemon grass leaf and galangal. Strain broth. Keep hot. Set aside. Remove chicken skin and discard. Dice the chicken. Set aside.
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 shallots,peeled, minced
2 thumb size ginger,peeled & minced
2 thumb size galangal,peeled, crushed
2 stalk lemon grass (use only the inner core.Dice) The leaves tied into a knot and added to the boiling chicken.
4 shitake mushroom,dry. Soak in water ,then slice in strips.
1 pkg enoki mushroom,cut the bottom stem,discard
1 can quail eggs,drain and discard liquids
3 quart strained chicken broth
2 cube chicken flavored bouillion
2 tbsp. cornstarch dilute in 1 cup water
Salt and white pepper to taste
Coconut meat from 4 young coconut.Slice in thin strips. Save the shell to use as a vessel for serving.
4 stalk spring onion,minced for garnish
How to prepare
Heat oil in medium soup pan. When oil is hot, add the galangal,lemon grass and shallots. Saute until fragrant
Add the ginger, shitaki, enoki mushroom and chicken. Saute.
Add the strained hot chicken broth,cornstarch diluted in cold water to the sauteed chicken. Add seasonings.
Add the coconut meat and coconut water.
Simmer until flavor marries.
I use the coconut shell as a vessel to serve the dish as in the picture.
Poke a hole on top of the young coconut shell. Remove coconut water from the coconut . Save for beverage. Rinse coconut inside and out to make sure no wood chips or shredding got inside the coconut. Using a spoon, scrape the coconut meat lightly so as not to include the brownish pulp. Slice the coconut meat in strips. (I use a small wood saw to cut around the coconut top). Using a ladle, fill the coconut shell with the hot dish. Sprinkle top of dish with minced spring onion before serving. Serve it with a soup spoon.