Afritadang manok
Philippines Chicken Filipino Meats and Seafoods

How to Cook Chicken Afritada

What is chicken afritada?

Chicken afritada (afritadang manok) is a Filipino dish that is tomato-sauce based with minimal vegetables that complement and enhance its taste – more on why and how minimal vegetables can enhance the taste of a dish.

Although Wikipedia says “fritada” is a Spanish term that means fried, it also said that afritada is a braised dish. Indeed chicken afritada is braised.

Chicken afritada is also served on special occasions in the Philippines. I believe its beautiful color adds touch to the table.

Ingredients of chicken afritada

The following are the ingredients in cooking a successful afritada:

Apritadang manok ingredients

  • garlic, onion, and tomato. Sauteeing in the Philippines usually refers to either “garlic and onion” or “garlic, onion, and tomatoes.” Afritada includes tomatoes.
  • potato
  • carrot
  • green or red bell pepper
  • green beans (optional)
  • achuete sauce – adds color to the dish and  touch of distinct achuete taste
  • patis (fish sauce).   This is optional and should be in tandem with the use of salt.
  • Salt and pepper
  • white vinegar
  • tomato sauce

Variations in cooking afritada

Afritada is cooked, not only with chicken but with other meats such as beef and pork. It is one quick-and-easy recipe, despite the variations. I was watching a friend’s Youtube channel – Feeling Chef Dhan where he featured this dish and I saw the difference in his and my renditions of the same recipe. I find it interesting.

Through the years of cooking chicken afritada, this is one major thing I had learned:  be true to “braising” the meat; it is one of the secrets to attaining the afritada taste.

Secrets in cooking afritada

I looked up vinegar in cooking afritada, and I did not find it.  I kind of know that vinegar is not part of the entourage of ingredients, however, it is one of my mom’s secret ingredients which I revealed the first time in the book “There is No Oven in Inang’s Kitchen.” She uses a tablespoon or two of vinegar in her afritada and I overheard her that it is indeed her secret.

As for me, patis or fish sauce is one condiment that I do not forget nor replace with anything when I cook my own afritada. Yes, my chicken afritada would have vinegar, as my mom’s has, but my tastebuds say it is not the same without my favorite fish sauce. Even then, and as a matter of taste, as always, you can omit patis in your rendition. Experiment, why not? Let me know, though if you find patis a good addition. I love company.

How to serve and keep leftover chicken afritada

  • Afritadang manok is best served over hot steamed rice.
  • Leftover afritada can be kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Reheat over medium heat for a few minutes.

Cooking tips:

  • Cut the chicken in almost uniform sizes so that they are cooked evenly. Skinless chicken breasts do not seem to be e good candidate for this dish, because we need the natural oil of the chicken skin to add flavor to the dish. Chicken thighs are a great choice.
  • Too many fresh tomatoes in this dish will make afritada watery. Deseeding tomatoes will also help.
  • Be friendly and patient with cooking time. The longer this stays on the stove over low-medium heat, the tastier the dish becomes.
  • If you want to add other choices from the basic vegetables, make sure to pre-boil ad drain them before adding them to the almost-cooked afritada. We would like to preserve the taste of the braised chicken.
  • Vinegar should not create a sour taste in afritada.
  • Hey, I heard you can add a few tablespoons soy sauce in afritada. I have yet to try that. Chicken bouillon cubes can replace salt and pepper… and fish sauce as well.
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Afritadang manok

Chicken Afritada

  • Author: Magida
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Chicken cooked in tomato sauce and minimal veggies that enhance its taste


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 whole chicken (about 1200g cut into 8 pieces)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsps. white vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 big onion (diced finely)
  • 1 medium tomato (deseeded and diced)
  • 1 medium-sized potato (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 carrot (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 small green bell pepper (diced roughly)
  • about 56 green beans (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. patis (fish sauce) – optional
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce

Instructions

  1. Sautee garlic in oil for half a minute. Add onions and stir for two minutes before adding tomatoes. Stir until the mixture is soft, almost wilted.
  2. Add chicken pieces and stir for another two minutes. Pour achuete sauce and turn the chicken until they are all covered by the color.  Add the white vinegar. Do not stir until after it boils.
  3. Cover the cooking pot, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the chicken parts are half done – about 15 minutes, then add the vegetables. Cook again for another 20 minutes.
  4. Season with salt, and black pepper. Add tomato paste mixed with an equal amount of water.
  5. Season with fish sauce, if using. Cook for another five minutes.

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