Sinampalukang Manok is Chicken cooked Sinigang style, but what made this different among the other sinigang dishes is that this uses young tamarind leaves as a souring agent, whereas other sinigang dishes used different kinds of fruits - calamansi, young tamarind fruit, guava, santol, kamias (bilimbi), and batuan.
I was able to cook this dish when I passed by a market and saw a vendor selling young tamarind leaves for 20 pesos per 1/4 kilo. Quite expensive, but then again, we don't have any neighbors who have tamarind trees in their yard, so I just have to go with it. There are so many ways to cook this dish, but this is how I cook mine.
- 1 kilo chicken, cut into serving pieces
- 1/4 kilo young tamarind leaves
- 1 bundle string beans, cut 1-inch long
- 4 medium pieces taro, quartered
- 1 small white radish, cut diagonally (1/4 inch wide)
- leaves from 1 bundle kangkong
- 1 big tomato, quartered
- 1 medium sized red onion, sliced
- 2-3 pieces finger chilies
- salt (or patis)
How to Cook
- Place the young tamarind leaves in a cheesecloth and boil it in a pot of water with salt for about 5 to minutes. Take out the cheesecloth and squeeze out the water from the leaves. If you don't have cheesecloth, you can just boil the leaves in water and just use a strainer to take out the leaves.
- Add tomatoes, chilies, and onion into the pot and bring it to a boil.
- Add chicken and taro and continue simmering it until it's half cooked. Add the string beans and simmer further.
- Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking, adjust the seasoning and add the kangkong leaves. Stir lightly and cover the pot for few minutes, allowing the residual heat to cook the leaves. Serve hot.
Sinigang and Sinampalukan are flexible dishes, and it can be altered to go with one's preferences. Optional vegetables to use include eggplants and okra, and one can also add lemongrass or ginger to take out the "lansa" from the chicken (as well as adding flavors, too). Other people also saute the onions, tomatoes, and chicken in oil before adding the tamarind infused water, but here in our house, we don't go with that procedure because the chicken skin already gives the oil to the dish, we don't feel like adding more oil into it. What else? Oh... others also use rice washing water (the water you used in cleaning the rice before cooking it), although I don't really know the logic behind it, I do go for it once in a while.
If young tamarind leaves is not available (as this is not widely available in markets), people also use the young tamarind fruit, as well as the store bought tamarind cube, powder, or paste. Since the objective of the dish is to have a bowl of hot, sour chicken soup, anyone can use whatever ingredients are available.
As for me, I enjoy my Sinampalukang Manok with hot steamed rice and a saucer of my favorite condiment - patis, calamansi juice, and mashed bird's eye chili. Hot and spicy. Yum.