Monday, May 16, 2011

Tinausiang Manok (Chicken Cooked in Salted Yellow Beans)

A colleague-friend is coming over and we want to prepare an unusual viand cum “pulutan” or bites made from chicken I have been wanting to cook for the last several days. Already tired of the usual “adobo”, “afritada”, “caldereta”, fried and even barbecued chicken, we thought of preparing a chicken version of the earthy pork dish called “tinausian”. We believe the unique flavor of the pungent-tasting and sweet-spicy-smelling “tausi” or salted/fermented soy beans would also work well with poultry, especially if complimented with the sweet-sour flavor of fresh plum tomatoes or tomato sauce.

Just as I have already prepared almost all of the required ingredients and ready to sauté, I realized I no longer have “tausi”. :) We are in Sri Lanka and the canned “tausi” that we normally use all came back home from the Philippines. Maybe it is available in any of the several Chinese or Korean stores in the Colombo capital but we are yet to find one. I can no longer back off from doing the dish so I thoroughly scoured the cupboard once again. Right there at the back, I found a familiar “Temple” can but my joy is short-lived because the label says “Salted Yellow Beans” instead of “Salted Black Beans” which refers to “tausi”.

But then I thought it might serve the purpose as well, after all, it is made from beans and also salted. A short research from the internet confirmed it is a very similar seasoning ingredient which can be used for the intended dish and thus I have a green light. I found out later that salted yellow beans, also a type of fermented beans like “tausi”, is called “tauco” in Indonesia where it is popular and commonly used in cooking chicken. With that, it seems I’m on the right track.

The fact that I will be using a different condiment in my “tinausiang manok” made the preparation even more exciting. Apart from the dish itself, the opportunity to learn new preparation using the distinct ingredient opens a new horizon to my limited culinary world; that is, granted I really have one. :-) Like “tausi”, I could imagine salted yellow beans can be applied to many braised meat and seafood dishes as well.

Right after opening the can of the salted yellow beans, I immediately picked one bean and tasted it. It has the same “tausi” taste that borders from sharp to salty to somewhat bitter and sweet. Honestly, at that moment I cannot yet identify the difference between the two except for the obvious color where the former is light brown (not really yellow) and not black. I know there got to be more differences as far as flavors and uses are concerned which I hope to discover soon.

For the dish, some cut-up skin-on chicken legs, thighs and wings (my favorite chicken parts in addition to liver and gizzard) that collectively weigh about 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lbs) should be enough. If, for some dietary or medical reasons, you prefer using other cuts, go for it. Just don’t make it a pure skin-off chicken breast affair. It won’t be fun, believe me. :-)

The other ingredients needed are as follows: 1/3 cup soy sauce, divided, 3 tbsp cooking oil or margarine, if you have, 1 head garlic, minced, 2 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced, 3 pcs plum tomatoes, chopped, 2 tbsp sweet-style tomato sauce, 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped, (I used “cubanelle” chili pepper) 1 tsp ground pepper, pinch of salt or to taste and about 2-3 tbsp salted yellow beans, drained and to be mashed.

Wash the meat several times then thoroughly drain it. Marinate in 1/2 cup of the soy sauce for at least an hour.

In a heavy wok or pan, heat the 3 tbsp oil or margarine and fry garlic followed by the onions. Stir-fry until onions are translucent. Add in soy sauce-marinated meat and continue sautéing until the meat renders its own liquid.

Continue simmering on low heat until the meat is slightly tender and sauce is slightly reduced.

Add in fresh tomatoes, bell pepper and remaining soy sauce then continue simmering. Season it with ground pepper and a pinch of salt. We will use salted yellow beans later so no need to put so much salt. Add about ½ cup of broth or hot water and simmer further until the tomato has totally disintegrated.

Continue simmering on low heat until the sauce is once again reduced and oil starts to render. You can skim off some of the oil floating on the surface if you’ll find it excessive. Ours is intended to be somewhat dry and oily so we kept everything intact. Finally, mash the salted yellow beans and add it in. Stir and continue cooking until the meat is fork tender and the oily sauce has thickened.

Transfer in a serving platter and serve immediately with hot steamed rice. While the dish is delicious right after cooking, ours was first kept inside the fridge for the taste to further develop …… okay, while waiting for our friend-guest scheduled to arrive the following day. :-) But the taste did really develop further.

The dish was served as our dinner alongside a bucket of KFC spicy fried chicken our guest brought. It was truly a fine dining experience …… composed mostly of chicken. I’m glad I did not add hard-boiled egg to the dish. Otherwise it will be a never ending dinner of chicken and egg. :-) Try it and enjoy! c“,)

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