When I first posted a recipe for halang-halang, the only thing I knew about the dish was that it was similar to tinola except for the addition of coconut milk. It turns out — based on readers’ comments — that halang-halang literally translates to anghang-anghang (spicy-spicy) and chilis are an essential ingredient of the dish. It turns out too that there are many, many ways of cooking halang-halang, some with chunks of chicken, some with pork, and some with very small pieces of meat. Some serve it as a soup; others, as an almost-dry stew.
So, I decided to update my halang-halang recipe.
- 1 kilo of chicken pieces (thighs, legs, back and wings are preferred; breast meat is too dry for this dish)
2 tbsps. of soy sauce
2 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil (extra virgin coconut oil will yield a more aromatic halang-halang)
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger
4 cloves of garlic
chili peppers (what kind and how much depends on how spicy you want the dish — I used 2 pcs. of siling labuyo>)
2 whole chayote
patis (fish sauce), to taste
1 c. of coconut cream or milk (use cream for a thicker halang-halang; use milk for a thinner soup)
a handful of sili leaves
Cut the chicken into serving size pieces and place in a bowl. Pour in two tablespoonfuls of soy sauce and toss to coat each piece well.
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Crush the garlic, peel and slice the ginger and the onion.
Heat the cooking oil in a pot and saute the ginger and garlic until fragrant, about two minutes. Add the sliced onion and continue sauteing until the onion slices start to soften.
Add the chicken to the pot, pour in enough water to cover and add the chilis. Season with patis (fish sauce). Bring to the boil, cover, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, peel the chayote, cut off the pith at the core and cut into wedges.
Wash the sili leaves. No need to use soap. :wink:
Add the chayote wedges to the chicken. Continue simmering for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Pour in the coconut cream or milk. Bring to the boil then turn off the heat. Add the sili leaves, cover and leave for about three minutes to allow the sili leaves to wilt. Do not boil after adding the sili leaves or the dish will taste bitter.
Serve the halang-halang hot.
Cooking time (duration): 1 hour
Number of servings (yield): 3 to 4