Want the luxurious red sauce in the dish plus the delicious combination of meat and vegetables? Then Puchero is one of the answers. Puchero or Pochero is a Spanish word for stew pot which means to cook in a pot. This dish is very popular for Spanish-influenced countries like the Philippines and South America.
Pochero was inherited by the Philippines from the Spaniards like the Menudo, Afritada and Caldereta. This dish is often served in different kinds of occasions in the Philippines but can be cooked for simple family dinner or just have something to serve with guests at home.
Pochero can be cooked with either beef, pork or chicken meat and has a lot of different ways in cooking so you can choose which is best for you and enjoy the dish at the convenience of your very own home. We will discuss later all about that, but today let us focus with Pocherong Manok.
What is Pocherong Manok
Pocherong Manok is a version of pochero but uses chicken meat. The chicken meat is cooked or stewed in a pot with tomato sauce and vegetables with saging saba. The saging saba is a type of a banana and this makes the Pocherong Manok a little sweet and more Filipino-style.
Pocherong Manok also does make up vegetables like cabbage, Baguio beans, and pechay.
Some also add potato to make the dish more satisfying. Garbanzos and chorizos are an option, but it can be skipped if you do not prefer them.
Pocherong Manok has ample nutrients needed by the body as it contains meat for protein and vegetables and tomato sauce for Vitamins and lycopene. This also makes an appealing dish for kids because of its appetizing color and its delicious creamy sauce. Its richness and completeness make Pocherong Manok a definite must-try!
Ways To Cook Chicken Pochero
We mentioned that this dish has a lot of ways to cook. You may opt to try below which is most convenient and perfect for you depending on which is available at your home or which is more agreeable for you, too.
Marinated Pocherong Manok
One of other ways of cooking Pocherong Manok is by marinating the chicken first in fish sauce for at least 20 minutes. You may also marinate it overnight for better absorption of the fish sauce and if you plan to cook it the next day and not rushing. Make sure to place the marinated chicken inside the refrigerator to avoid spoilage of the raw meat.
After that, you my now proceed on the step-by-step procedure in cooking Pocherong Manok. Stir-frying the marinated chicken is also a technique to make the meat absorb the taste of the fish sauce. Don’t forget to also use the sauce used for marinating in boiling the dish, instead of water or chicken stock to add to the delightful taste.
Grilled Pocherong Manok
On the other hand, instead of sautéing the chicken, we can choose to grill the chicken, instead. To do this, season chicken meat with salt and pepper and then grill. You can grill using the conventional charcoal-grilling or grill using an electric grill – it is up to you.
After grilling, proceed on the usual way of cooking the Pocherong Manok. The grilling process adds a smoky taste and smell to the dish which makes it more diverse and inviting. This also makes the chicken meat a little crisper which adds a unique texture to our Pocherong Manok dish.
Illonggo-Style Pocherong Manok
With this style, the Illonggos loved to make it a little simpler. Instead of stewing meat and vegetables in tomato sauce, you can cook them in chicken stock. This adds so much flavor in the dish without the salty-sour taste of tomato sauce. This version of the Pocherong Manok is perfect for those who would like to skip on tomato sauce and want a little less color on their food.
In this style, you may also skip in adding garbanzos and chorizos but add carrots to liven the color of your Pocherong Manok. This version is a little lighter and less creamy. Note that this might not be appealing to kids as well because of its color.
Pocherong Manok with smoked kielbasa
Many Filipinos are not fond of chorizo de Bilbao on meals while some find it hard to buy from some grocery stores. That is why switching to smoked kielbasa is another option to try. Kielbasa is a sausage made from the combination of pork and beef with strong garlic flavor.
After boiling meat and vegetables with saging na saba in tomato sauce, add the sliced smoked kielbasa. Then, simmer for another 5 minutes to let the aroma and flavor of the sausage stick into our Pocherong Manok. Finally, add the pechay and cabbage to retain their crisp and freshness.
Pocherong Manok with canned pork and beans
Funny, yet effective is this one variation of the Pocherong Manok. With this variation, we may use the canned pork and beans instead of using tomato paste or tomato sauce and garbanzos. It makes the dish less costly and also makes the cooking a bit quicker.
Start by stir-frying the chicken meat with garlic and onion until meat is no longer pink. Then, add the canned pork and beans with water and let it boil. Now, instead of frying the potatoes and bananas beforehand, boil them with the meat and canned pork and beans until meat is fork tender. You may now add the pechay and cabbage to the dish and simmer for 3 minutes more.
Pocherong Manok and Baboy
In this version of the Pocherong Manok, pork is also added, so you would not miss pork in this meal. This is almost the same with how you cook the traditional Pocherong Manok but with this version, we will also need additional time in preparing and cooking the pork. We also recommend you choose pork belly instead of other leaner parts because the fatty part makes this dish a lot tastier.
Before you stir-fry chicken meat with onion and garlic, we will need to fry the pork belly first, as it needs enough time to cook compared with chicken meat. You may also choose to boil pork belly instead of frying to lessen oil. Set aside pork belly while sautéing the chicken meat and then add after it is cooked.
This version of the Pochero is perfect for vegetarians. It uses tofu as meat or substitute for pork, chicken and beef meat. Saute the tomatoes and saging saba with garlic and onion then add potato ad pan fried tofu, then simmer with vegetable broth until soften. Add carrots and broccoli and simmer again for 5 minutes.
Put it to boil enough to soften the potato and carrots. You can add mushroom and Chinese cabbage after cooking. The heat of the pot should cook the cabbage enough but not too much so it will not be too sloppy.
Now, if you are a big fan of beef, you may try Beef Pochero. To cook this, you will need to pan fry the vegetables and the saging saba until golden brown. Set aside and then saute your onion, garlic and beef chunks.
Once browned, add the tomato sauce or tomato paste and season with salt and pepper to enhance the taste of the meat and vegetables. Next, put your vegetables and saging saba back into the pot and cook for additional eight minutes until potato is soft. Add bok choy and simmer to cook remaining ingredients.
You might have problems with too salty, too bland or other disasters while cooking the dish for the first time. Let us help you by checking some of these troubleshooting guidelines below:
Sometimes, you mistakenly added too much flavoring such as salt, seasoning or fish sauce into your dish and realized it became too salty. The first aid to these is to try to balance the taste with a little sugar. Try to add one to two tablespoons of sugar first and then stir gently.
If this still cannot fix the saltiness, we can also try adding some plain water to dissolve the excess salt and dilute them into the added water. Try putting one cup of water and then continue stirring and tasting until desired level of saltiness is achieved.
You may have been too careful not to add too much salt to your Pocherong Manok but ended up having bland dishes. Basically, skip the complex seasoning and add salt, first. Salt, as the basic flavoring of all dishes also releases and enhances the original taste of meat and vegetables which they naturally have.
Usually, a pinch of salt can do the trick. Otherwise, you may also try adding some seasoning you are comfortable using, little by little. Be careful in adding seasoning and always make sure to try tasting the dish every after adding and stirring to control the saltiness.
Not so Fresh vegetables or stock vegetables from the refrigerator
You can always use stock vegetables available in your refrigerator, especially if you have no time to go to the market to buy some. But remember that fresh vegetables are still a better choice to have. However, what if you do not have fresh vegetables?
We suggest that you make sure to dry the vegetable thoroughly after getting it out of the fridge and washing it carefully to remove all the bad residues it may have gotten from your fridge. The cleaner the vegetables, the better it will be as it somehow makes the taste and appearance fresher. Also, if the vegetables are drained enough before you add it in your cooking, it brings it back to the original state, therefore makes it look fresh and new.
Did you know that pochero is not just famous in Spanish dishes and Filipino tables but also with other countries?
Like for example, in Andalusia, it is commonly referred to as peasant soup. They originally stew meat with all the available vegetables they have at home and serve as a soup. Its meat leftovers are usually served as main dish like croquettes.
For Rio de la Plata Puchero, they cook puchero primarily with beef. Unlike in the Philippines, beef in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay is plentiful and cheaper. With this, beef puchero is more popular than pork and chicken meat.
In Spain, the Puchero dish is called Cocido which basically means “to boil”. They cook different types of meat like chicken, pork, beef and fish slowly under low heat in several hours. Ingredients added vary per region, depending on its abundance in the place.
Although we have provided some troubleshooting tips above, we also want you to take a look at these tips before cooking the dish.
- Remember to prepare the ingredients beforehand by washing it and drying it thoroughly so they will be ready when you need to stir-fry them. This goes the same with meat.
- Do not overcook vegetables as the crisp and natural nutrients of it will vanish over a high and long heating process.
- Lastly, boil the meat properly before adding seasoning, as other than salt and seasoning ingredients, meat flavor also adds saltiness and enough taste to the whole dish, as well.
Best Served With
We Filipinos love rich dinning as much as we enjoy simple food. Pocherong Manok can be served best with the following below:
- Rice - This is the usual pair of Filipinos with viand. It is best served hot and well cooked.
- Eggplant Sauce – This is eggplant cooked well with tomato sauce. This is can be a very good side dish for Pocherong Manok.
Cool drinks – Because Pocherong Manok has hot soup or sauce, it is best to compliment it with cool drinks after such as fruit juices or carbonated drinks.
Indeed, Pocherong Manok is a very easy yet rich dish which Filipino can really enjoy. The variety of ways to cook the dish makes it simple to prepare for every type of cook. The saging saba makes this dish unique and will definitely make you eat like pinoy!
Its variations make it easier for every type of Juan to enjoy the dish, whether you are a vegetarian or a conventional eater. With the flexibility of its ingredients, you can mix and match the ingredients you like and ingredients you have available at home.
Next time you ran out of ideas on what to prepare on your next dinner, special occasions and even how to impress your guests at home, you now know how to cook the best Pocherong Manok!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Pocherong Manok Recipe
- 1 lb Chicken cut into desired sizes
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 pc Onion large, cubed
- ½ cup Tomato sauce
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
- ½ cup Water
- 2 tablespoon Cooking Oil
- 1 pc Carrot cubed
- 1 pc Potato large, quartered
- 2 pcs Saba Banana cut into 3 pieces
- ¼ cut Cabbage
- 8 pcs Boy Choy
- 6 pcs Baguio beans cut into half
- Heat oil in a pan. Fry the potato and banana until lightly browned then set aside.
- Remove some oil from the pan then saute garlic and onion until golden brown.
- Add the chicken and sprinkle with black pepper. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Pour-in tomato sauce and water, stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Put the carrots and baguio beans, then cook again for 5 minutes while covered.
- Add the fried banana and potatoes. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes then add the cabbage and bok choy. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- Serve while hot. Enjoy!