How To Cook The Best Ginataang Manok Or Chicken Cooked In Coconut Milk

Gata, or shredded coconut milk, is one of the most used ingredients for cooking Filipino cuisine recipes. It is not something new and opens your mind to new variations. It is also a famous ingredient in making other delicacies aside from the Filipino’s typical dishes. Filipinos have always been intrigued by preparing dishes with gata (chicken cooked with coconut milk) is not an exemption. Regardless of how popular a dish cooked in coconut milk is in the Philippines, many are still puzzled about the recipes, cooking and perfecting this style. 

Traditionally, Filipinos love eating this dish once in a while because our islands have abundant trees all over the archipelago. The dishes or recipes are immensely popular because it has several variants all over the country. And in fact, variants of ginataan are either as viands paired with hot steamed rice or desserts with fruits that you can consume after the fruit opens. Although it may seem that all Filipinos follow a particular way or recipes with gata, it can still differ from one province to another. Considering that the Philippines is an archipelago of more than seven thousand islands, it only proves that serving dishes with gata has more ways than just one recipe followed. Still, new methods are created with this technique.

ginataang manok in a casserole
(Photo Credits to: Ang Sarap)

For this reason, this recipe and article impart relevant information about this cuisine. Likewise, you will also know other variations where you can sometimes decide to cook each variant. Additional related information such as trivia, easy fix, and tips are in the discussion.

What is Ginataang Manok/Chicken Cooked in Coconut Milk

ginataang manok on a plate
(Photo Credits to: Ang Sarap)

Also called chicken stew sauteed with gata. Traditionally, native broilers are preferred in this dish because it is more delicious and natural. This cuisine is not new and commonly combined with vegetables, including green leafy ones and malunggay, also known as Moringa Oleifera. Other recipes and variations use other veggies and fruits, which will be furtherly discussed below. 

The dish can be served as it is. Most provinces with many coco products are famous for adding spice to their ginataan dishes, depending on their region. One particular area in the Philippines, Bicol, prefers their gata recipe slightly on the spicy side. Bell pepper or chili are sometimes included to add a little bit of spice and will make you eat more rice in the process.

Variations of Top Ginataang Manok Recipes

As briefly explained in the introduction, this recipe has several variations using coconut milk. These variations are mostly veggies in coconut milk together with the meat. Each variant has a unique heavenly aroma and flavor to indulge.

Ginataang Manok with Patatas Recipe

ginataang manok with patatas
(Photo Credits to: Pinterest)

This first of a list of recipes is a variant with patatas or Potato. You put Potato, instead of papaya, as its partner vegetable. There are two ways you can include the potatoes in preparing the dish in a not so new practice.

The recipes suggest the first way is to include it in the stewing with gata and spices directly. Meanwhile, the second way is by separately frying it before it is put in the stew. Thus, this makes the Potato a bit crispy, tasting like french fries. The fried sliced potatoes very well complement the gata. 

Some people follow recipes that include crushing some of the root crops and creating a mashed potato mixture before putting it in. Adding it opens a new thicker consistency for those who love their dish recipes on the creamier side. This method is to fix any problems with the texture of the dish.

Ginataang Manok With Spinach Recipe

ginataang manok with spinach on a plate
(Photo Credits to: AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN)

This is another recipe for this dish with spinach. In this recipe variant, instead of other fruit-like greens, baby spinach is included. Changing or choosing alternatives is not a new process in Filipino dishes. Based on experience, leafy greens perfectly blend with other chicken dishes like tinola, a well known Filipino soup with recipes on the internet. 

If you do not like spinach, you may also use other leafy vegetables you preferred, such as malunggay and chili leaves. Just pay attention when slowly putting in because spinach is quickly cooked. So, there is a risk of eliminating the nutrients of the greens when overdone.   

Chili leaves also give the dish a little bit of a kick on the spicy side. Chili leaves are suitable for people who do not want their dish too spicy if they chose whole chilis.  

Ginataang Manok with Pineapple Recipe

ginataang manok with pineapple in a bowl
(Photo Credits to: kawaling PINOY)

Interestingly, most Filipino dish recipes like intensely sweet flavors in the meals, including one with Pineapple. On the contrary, others call this pininyahan with gata, and it is cooked with Pineapple and gata. Nevertheless, this highlights the combining of seemingly contrasting ingredients, which are gata and Pineapple. New versions of this dish also include pineapple puree.

Pineapple bits or chunks are put in the stew with the gata. You can imagine how wonderful this recipe could be when the bursting flavor of Pineapple will combine with creamy gata and be absorbed by the chicken. This dish is amazing when served on special occasions with cold beverages. 

Pineapples give the recipe dish a sweet, sour, tangy taste. Sometimes, if the dish’s consistency is too thick, people prefer pineapple juice instead of water instead of adjusting based on how they want the sauce to be too thick. 

Best Chicken in Coconut Milk with Papaya Recipe

ginataang manok on a plate
(Photo Credits to: Yummy Ph)

Of course, nothing new beats the original in these recipe variants. Another variant with papaya is the traditional way to cook this dish, similar to Indian curry. This style highlights green papayas together with chicken and gata. 

Some recipes and guides say you may also put leafy greens, such as malunggay, that balance well with this variant. It seems like tinolang manok with gata. Again, this is healthy for the skin because of the Vitamin E property and malunggay, which also helps new skin generate.

The malunggay or leaves of moringa also has nutritional benefits. An expert says that the moringa leaves have enough iron content to support one’s daily iron needs. Better than taking in iron supplements. Just be careful not to overdo your leaves by putting them while you simmer.

Chicken in Coconut Milk with Kalabasa Recipe

ginataang manok in a bowl
(Photo Credits to: Yummy Ph)

Adding kalabasa is another variant of this cuisine or recipes, says some locals, to make the texture thick and creamy at the same time. Instead of the usual greens, squash is infused along with malunggay. The squash’s mashy texture blends well with gata’s creamy nature, the same texture as a curry. It enhances the yummy sweet taste of the dish, which children like.

Aside from its sweet-savory feature, this food is also another healthy meal because it contains squash. This vegetable is one of the well-known sources of Vitamin A, which promotes healthy eyesight. Hence, it is highly fibrous, which cleans our digestive system. 

Some people often crush parts of the pumpkin or kalabasa to add to its consistency. If the dish happens to be too salty, adding in a little bit more of the kalabasa or pumpkin will absorb the extra saltiness, balancing its taste, which is not a new process for balancing saltiness bland.

Ginataang Manok with Sayote/Chicken in Coco Juice With Chayote Recipe

ginataang manok on a plate
(Photo Credits to: Rice And Dine)

Are you a tinolang manok lover? One lover says more than any other variant of this dish, this yummy dish variant with sayote, also known as Chayote, will make you resonate as if eating tinolang manok. Hence, in this recipe version, the chicken is stewed with coco juice and sayote, together with malunggay.

What makes it different from tinola recipes is the thickness. But, of course, you can increase the chicken broth volume if you wish to make it like a soup. In that manner, only the gata separates it from tinola. 

Ginataang Manok with Sitaw/Chicken in Coco Juice with String Beans

ginataang manok with sitaw in a bowl

If you are a fan of pinakbet, a famous cuisine originated in Luzon’s northern part, adding sitaw (Green Beans) to this dish variant will make you reminisce about that dish. A northern Luzoner includes a string of sitaw in the chicken’s stewing with gata to cook this recipe. And if you wish, you may also have squash in it. 

For a vegetable, although incomplete, sitaw or Green Beans is a good source of protein. Similarly, it is also high in fiber, but it may still give you some gastrointestinal problems. Meanwhile, the sitaw is low in fat and sodium. In other words, you may indulge in it a little, but in moderation, considering that legumes are some of the most challenging food that the stomach can digest, a foodie expert says.

The sitaw can also be replaced with other kinds such as chicharo or the Baguio beans, which are smaller in size and length than the sitaw. Always remember not to steam or boil your leaves for too long. Some online recipes advise it is a smart idea for your veggies to have that extra crisp and freshness when you indulge in this sumptuous dish. 


Serving this dish sometimes ends up tasting too salty as the most common concern. Since gata is the main condiment of this recipe, the creamy texture may increase the taste significantly. You may put in a little amount of vinegar and chili pepper to balance the flavor to fix it. 

You can put root crops, either whole or mashed, and kalabasa too. Just a fair warning, though, that you may create a thicker broth for the dish by doing so. Then add a little bit of water if the consistency becomes too thick. 

Some recipes also prefer frying the chicken separately. Still, just a reminder, do not over fry your chicken because it will affect the whole dish’s taste.

Trivia About the Ginataang Manok Recipes

Did you know that ginataan, or the process of stewing with gata, is an old way and one of the oldest traditional styles among Austronesian recipes? This group of people pertains to those residing and the archipelagos and coastal countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific regions where coconuts are almost everywhere.

Examples of these countries are Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Micronesia. The Austronesian method includes boiling, roasting, and steaming.

tinolang manok in a bowl
(Photo Credits to: knorr)

While it remains uncertain on how ginataan originated and who were the editors, popular history traces it back to recipes around 900 thru 1300 A.D. This was when the Philippines, during the pre-Spanish colonization period, opens and participated in the direct business and cultural trade with Hokkien, China, during the Song Dynasty. In this trade, the Chinese have introduced the use of bean sprouts (toge), fish sauce (patis), soy sauce (toyo), tofu, cocoa by-products, and tokwa in cooking savory soup-based dishes and most recipes too.

As a result, trading with China opens the Philippines’ doors to trade with neighboring kingdoms such as Malacca and Java. These countries have almost the same variations of recipes. These kingdoms have influenced the ancient Filipinos about the use of bagoong and the infusion of gata and veggies such as laing and our topic dish, also known as a chicken stew, thanks to different recipe variations, barter, and trading goods.

Tips When Cooking Ginataang Manok

Some edited recipes suggest that the creamier it gets, the tastier it becomes. In other words, the key that opens to success in making your creamy chicken lies in the amount of coconut milk you put to cook this cuisine. In support, make sure to buy the freshest coco milk in the market. You may be able to catch this up very early in the morning. 

We also select the optimal quality of chicken. The elderly prefer the native chicken (manok na Tagalog) in their recipes instead of the usual 45-day old kind sold in supermarkets. When sauteed, native chicken’s broth or juice is superior to the other chicken.

Finally, the slow-cooked meal stands above. When undercooked, it is tough, and the coconut milk does not blend well. On the other hand, they become soggy when overdone. 

Best Served With

Various selections can be paired with these chicken recipes. These selections are compatible with the creamy and spicy palate of the meal. So, here below are some of those not so new food partners.

Rice – Most Filipino recipes and cuisines are perfectly matched with rice, one of the leading viands, whether a hot-steamed or fried rice and the creaminess and spice of this dish will surely open you to eating more and more rice.

Chili – when you forget to put chili and follow some recipes, you can still mix it while eating. The spicy flavor compliments well and right in coconut milk’s creamy texture to meat’s juiciness. 

Soft drink, Fruit Juice, or Coconut Juice – Of course, eating something with spice entices you to consume large amounts of rice very quickly. In effect, it is either you might choke yourself or blaze your tongue. Therefore, you will need to drink ice-cold soft drinks and juice to ease your eating.

Fruit Punch or Coconut Wine is also known as Lambanog – For people who love a little bit of alcohol in their drinks, a fruit punch may be an excellent option besides the dish, mostly if the gata was on the spicy side. 


These chicken recipes are generally not new but known as classic Filipino food with an ancient history and numerous variations. On the one hand, this food’s popularity reflects the country’s abundant coconut trees’ resources. On the other hand, its varieties represent the multicultural characteristics of the Filipino people as Austronesians. Thanks to colonization and the art of trading, the Filipino dishes have improved with help from other new countries.

So it opens in response, go and cook your style of this stew, there are many recipes online you can look at. Feel the pride of having the chance to master the cooking and preparing this for your family. Cook, and enjoy eating.

For more delicious recipe like this, visit Eat Like Pinoy!

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3.5 from 2 votes

Best Ginataang Manok Recipe

The creamy flavor from the coconut milk and the natural meaty and juicy flavor from the chicken made this dish loved by everyone.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Chicken Recipes, Ginataang Manok, How to Cook the Best Ginataang Manok
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 310kcal
Cost $5 – $20


  • 1 lb Chicken any part and cleaned
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 large Onion cubed
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 3 pcs Green Chillies sliced
  • 1 small Papaya (raw) chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Pepper
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 thumb Ginger cubed
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water


  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Saute the garlic until golden brown, add the onion and ginger. Mix them well.
  • Put the chicken and pepper, add the fish sauce, mix and cover for 5 minutes.
  • Add the vinegar and cover again for 2-3 minutes.
  • Put the papaya, green chilies, water. Mix then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes
  • After 10 minutes, add the coconut milk, mix in until the coconut is boiled, after mixing the coconut milk cover and cook it for 10 minutes using low heat.
  • Then serve it while hot.


Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 413mg | Potassium: 307mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg
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Good read!