Tinutong na Manok sa Gata

Tinutong na Manok sa Gata is a Bicolano dish prepared with native free-range chicken, young papaya, moringa leaves and red pepper cooked in coconut milk that is extracted from toasted coconut meat. Back in the Philippines this is quite an easy meal to prepare because grated coconut meat is easily available in the wet markets, here in New Zealand you have to grate it on your own using tools that are not really built for grating coconut meat, in other words its challenging. But like some of my Filipino traditional dishes I tried to make a way, in fact an easy way like in this dish for instance.

The trick is I basically used some desiccated coconut or dried coconut strips, rehydrated them with coconut milk then slowly toasted then in the oven until its golden brown but not crunchy, I then placed this toasted coconut in a bowl of coconut milk and let it sit for several hours so it imparts the flavour to the coconut milk then extract it again over a muslin cloth. This I bet is easier then grating your own coconut without the proper device it will save your knuckle skin as well. This trick worked for me, it gave that toasted taste similar to latik, the aroma and taste is nearly as similar to the traditional means.

If you love ginataang manok you will love this even more, the flavour is enhanced due to the toasted coconut taste, what’s even better if you can cook it over hot ember rather than stove top like a charcoal grill, it will impart that original smoky taste.

Tinutong na Manok sa Gata
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 kg free range chicken thighs and legs
  • 4 cups desiccated coconut or dried coconut strips
  • 6 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 medium sized green papaya cubed
  • 1 bunch malunggay leaves
  • 1 thumb sized ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • oil
  • fish sauce or sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  1. In a bowl combine 2 cups of coconut milk and 4 cups of desiccated coconut, let it rehydrate.
  2. Prepare a baking tray lined with aluminium foil or parchment paper, toast in a 180C preheated oven for 20 minutes or until strips are golden brown and very aromatic, prevent it to become crunchy.
  3. Place all remaining coconut milk in a large bowl then combine with the toasted coconut. Let is sit for 2 hours.
  4. Using a fine sieve separate coconut milk with desiccated coconut. Place desiccated coconut in a muslin cloth then press it hard to extract all of the juices, combine it with the initially separated coconut milk. Discard desiccated coconut.
  5. In a stone pot over a charcoal or wood burner heat oil then sauté garlic, onions and ginger. Cook until onions are soft.
  6. Add chicken and stir fry for 2 minutes in high heat browning all sides.
  7. Add chicken stock and all but 1 cup of the extracted coconut milk, bring to a boil and simmer in low heat for 45 minutes, if you are not using free range 20 minutes would be enough.
  8. Add green papaya and red capsicum then simmer for additional 15 minutes
  9. Add remaining coconut milk together bring back to a slow boil then top it with malunggay, cover then let the residual heat cook the malunggay for two minutes.
  10. Season with fish sauce and freshly ground pepper.
If you do not have a wood burner you can use a normal stove but the wood burner imparts a nice smoky flavour to the dish.



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