Try this Chicken Afritada recipe. A Filipino chicken stew in tomato sauce with carrots, potatoes and bell peppers.
Chicken Afritada is one of my Mama’s specialty. There is this slogan in Tagalog, “Sarsa pa lang ulam na!”. And this dish perfectly fits this phrase.
It translates to something like the sauce itself is good enough to be a viand. Does that make sense?
As you know, Filipinos eat everything with rice. You do not eat a dish without rice! It is always ‘kanin at ulam’ ( rice and viand). OK, viand is actually not a direct translation for ‘ulam’ and I think there is no exact English word for it so we use the word viand. ‘Ulam’ simply refers to a dish (or anything) that you eat with the rice. I know some people would eat spaghetti with rice, so in this case, the spaghetti becomes ‘ulam’. Sometimes I also like eating pancit (bihon or canton) with rice. My Mama (and now my nephews too) sometimes eat banana or mango (and nothing else) with rice. It’s a normal Filipino thing.
My Mama’s Chicken Afritada is one of her most requested dishes and it is definitely my Afritada goal. The problem is she does not use exact measurements and just go with her guts and taste buds. But I learned her secret ingredients are butter, potted meat, and cheese. She adds these at the end and it makes the dish richer and gives it a touch of creaminess.
I cannot find potted meat here in Germany, maybe they have it but unless I try all the canned spreadable meat I will never know which one it is or at least the closest one.
As for the cheese, I am pretty sure she uses the processed cheese we have in the Philippines like Kraft cheese (Eden) which is of course not available here. The difference with processed cheese, when used in cooking, is that it melts or more like dissolved into the sauce. The cheeses here does not, it only melts but does not fully integrates into the sauce.
Another thing, the longer you cook this dish the better it gets.
Notice the sauce? I promise I didn’t use a lot of oil. That is from the chicken and the tomato sauce after long simmering and that is the goal, not to have a greasy dish but that the oil separates from the thickened tomato sauce then you can turn off the heat.
If you find it too greasy for your liking, just skim off some of the oil with a spoon. But what is a little fat from time to time? It’s what makes the dishes tasty.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium carrot - cubed
- 1 big potato - cubed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 medium red/green bell pepper
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 pounds (5-6 pieces) chicken drumsticks
- salt to taste
- about 1/8 cup potted meat (optional)
- about 1/4 cup Kraft cheese (grated processed cheese) or Velveeta (optional)
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Fry carrots and potatoes until edges are lightly browned. Set aside.
- Sear chicken for 2-3 minutes each side. Remove from oil and set aside.
- In the same skillet with oil. Saute garlic and onion until aromatic and limp.
- Pour in the tomato sauce and 1 cup water and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the tomato sauce loses some of its sourness.
- Add the chicken and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt. Cover and simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until the chicken are cooked through.
- Add the potatoes, carrots and bell pepper, butter, potted meat and grated cheese. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving dish and serve with hot rice.