Chicken Pindang

DSCF7134 (640x494)Circa 1983. The Philippines was experiencing a turbulent political crisis. I was in my grade school, Grade 6, to be exact, and was relatively naïve about the situation. All I knew back then was to play basketball and kung-fu; a typical kid enjoying his time in school and outside.  It was never explained in school what was occurring at that time although I clearly recall being taught to memorize the names of each minister in Social Studies or History class back in Grade 3 or 4. Looking back to now, I found that to be totally absurd.  I never expected that the entire country will turn into a sea of yellow sooner or later.  That was the turning point, and basically that was the political culture that was painted back in the 80’s.  I reckon it has never changed since and was the main reason why I bailed out.

The Pop Culture was an entirely different scenario. Anyone who grew up in the 80’s has had the opportunity to be exposed to the myriad of pop cultural event locally and internationally. Locally, ‘Bagets’ was a by-word everywhere and their colours were as loud as the jeepneys’ diesel engines.  The popularity of the ‘barkada’ singing the chorus of the ‘Bagets’ theme song and dancing in unison was an absolute disbelief.  Many fell so in love with the dance routine itself and many to the movie. I’m not sure though if it became a trilogy. I hated it, and I stuck listening the ‘New Wave’  punk rock brought by the Brits to desperate teenagers like myself tired of hearing popular music and seeking something new in the airwaves. NU107 was my station when it played real music after 1983 and MJ was MJ from motown.

It was at or around this particular time that I was introduced to Pindang. Many aren’t familiar with Pindang, but Pindang and Tocina are most likely close cousins or step brothers. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a Pindang recipe on-line. I loved how the household help made the dish so sugary sweet and violet that eating rice that has been fried on the Pindang pan itself  became an event during dinner time. It was as addicting as fantasizing about Phoebe Cates’ red bikini overload during religion classes at that, and staring at grade school crushes very early in the morning when their long, black hair, standing about ten feet high close to the forehead, was swaying with the early morning wind gust and despite that, still looked so fresh and gorgeous.  As to some, I have an inkling to the ‘Bagets’ family and to Kuya Germs’ That’s (Iska?).

I never learned how to cook this mighty potent and homey dish. A friend at work told me the step-by-step process and from thereon, had never left my mind. He’s mekeni mekeni all the way. Therefore, it had to be done!  Pork is the usual canvass of choice, but I had some chicken breast in my freezer.  My rule: use what’s available and work around it.


  • Chicken Breast, julienned
  • Brown Sugar
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Sazon (as my colouring agent)
  • Garlic, minced to a paste.

Heat a pot of water with about two cups of sugar together with the other ingredients to create a brine. Let it cool and soak the chicken breast overnight.

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Dump the brine, pat dry or let the breast hang-dry on a strainer until almost all the moisture has disappeared.

Heat a wok with oil and a little water. Pan-fry the breast until the meat caramelizes.  Set aside. Add a little more oil into the pan and start stirring the rice. Scrape all the caramelized sugar from the pan or until all the rice kernels have been fully coated by the sticky substance.

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