Monday, January 18, 2010

Laura's Note

I was surprised one rainy day a couple of weeks ago when I saw a package at my doorstep. The package was drenched in the rain, the sender's name was unreadable. I tore open the package, and lo and behold I saw a cookbook called Momofuku.... with it came a note that said:

I thought about you when I saw this cookbook. The author not only shares his recipe but also his life story.
I hope this will inspire you to create more oh-so-delish  dishes. Good luck on your catering business.


I have known my old friend Laura since high school. I reconnected with her just recently (as commonly seen with other people my age - through Facebook) after almost 2 decades of not communicating with each other. Now we talk on the phone, chat online, email each other regularly. It's like we didn't skip a beat being close to one another, our friendship is still there, despite not keeping in touch for almost 20 years.

When I see a handwritten note from an old friend, emotions creep in... her familiar handwriting transported me back in time: about the high school that we both went to, about our friendship, and about the eighties.  Pictures of our blue and white school uniform flashed before my eyes, and yes, the oh-so-awful 80's fashion statement:  the bulging shoulder pads and the stick up bangs!  Scenes from the past came rambling through my mind.  So I picked up the phone and called her up, and as she answered it was as if we were on a time machine, reminiscing about high school, our giggles in the corridors, the songs and dance steps we used to share and how much we loved to hang out.  Memories of our good relationship made us realize why we didn't get in touch much earlier.  20 years?  But yeah no matter how long time set us apart, reconnecting was a natural thing to do because of the bond we had in the past.

I told her how much  I appreciate receiving a cookbook from her, much more about the note she had written.  She shared with me how much she enjoys my blog, and because of it she's learning how to cook... a very good reason for us to reconnect. And as we plan on how we could meet up, I can't help but feel excited about our newly restored friendship.  Just like that fateful day more than 25 years ago, when we first became friends in high school, as she invited me to watch the movie E.T. (the betamax version) at her home.

So Laura this recipe is for you:

Roasted Chicken ala Francis (Lechon Manok)
(Francis C. is an old friend from my hometown.  She asked me to try sinigang mix as a rub to roast chicken. Sinigang Mix is a tamarind flavored souring agent that comes in powder form. It's traditionally used to make sour soup, so I was intrigued. But alas what a discovery, and thank you Francis! It has been a favorite ever since.  It's so convenient. I didn't have to add any other seasoning... and as  a bonus, you could buy the mix in my neighborhood grocery store like Ralph's and Vons!!)

This recipe is under the category: I can't believe it's that easy recipe:

We need:
A Whole Chicken

Tamarind Mix (Sinigang Mix)-
Lemon Wedges
1 whole garlic sliced in the middle

As I've said, this is under the category I can't believe it's that easy recipe, so let me deliver the promise...haha!  So let's begin.

Preheat oven to 425 F. 
Meanwhile, thoroughly wash the chicken.   Pat it dry with a paper towel.  Rub the outside of the chicken with a generous amount of the tamarind mix. 

Rub on  both outside and inside the cavity. You would love to have that sour /citrucy flavorings to be absorbed into the meat during roasting.
Add the lemon wedges, garlic and more tamarind mix into the cavity of the chicken.  This will add more kick into the dish.

Slip more of the mix under the skin. You need some TLC while rubbing it under the skin, you don't want the skin to tear. Doing this will give you the desired sourness and will keep the meat moist.
Some tie or truss the chicken but  for me that's way too complicated.  Bake it  breast side up, by doing so, it traps all the juices in.

I initially put the temperature at  450 degrees F  for about 20 minutes.  This will give a nice brown color and crispyness to the skin.  Then reduce temp to 350-375 degrees F.   Standard cooking time is  usually 30 minutes per pound but ovens vary so be cautious.  You don't want to have an overbaked chicken as it will be so dry.  You know it's cooked when: the skin should be golden brown, and the liquid that runs through should be clear.  To avoid guess work stick to what your thermometer reads.  If it reads 170 -180 degrees internal temperature, you're good to go.

Rest the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes, backside up.  All those trapped juices will find its way to moisten the breast giving a full flavor to every part of the chicken!

For sauce and dippings:  Get soy sauce and squeeze some lemon into it.  Add a little sugar and crushed garlic. Mix it altogether, and enjoy!


  1. great post about friendship. love the lechon manok too!

  2. I love your musings about relationships, friendships, marriag and family life. It adds interest to the interesting recipes you post.

  3. What a lovely surprise - and a lovely post about it too. That chicken looks magnificent!!! And, by the way ... love your name! ;)

  4. This is definitely one of my favorite blogs (giggle) because it's about our friendship and I have to say what a wonderful surprise! I can't believe you still remember the E.T movie that we watched back then. You really have a very sharp memory not like mine...hahhaha. All I can say is thank you for being you and thank you for being my bff. I hope we will be like the old lady in the phone company commercial (I think that was AT&T) where she sends text messages to her bff Rose even though she's already old and gray.
    I'll definitely make the chicken recipe over the weekend. Sounds delish!

  5. What a great surprise! It so wonderful that you guys have reconnected and have great memories o reflect upon. This chicken recipe looks terrific!

  6. That's what good friendship is touching story. That's a beautiful chicken you made....mmmm.

  7. thanks everyone!
    foodie2: hey how's it going? i haven't seen you in awhile...

    Diva: hmmm another diva... i love divas hahaha.

    lau: cheers this ones for you!

    christine:thanks, i really appreciate you dropping by.

    mary: i miss seeing you around here... and thanks for dropping by...

  8. Thanks so much for posting my simple "lechon manok ala imbento" recipe.
    I super love your tips in cooking! It's a great help to someone who loves home cooked meals.

    More power and continue to be a blessing to everyone!! God super bless U always my dear friend...:D

  9. awww francis thanks for stopping by .. and thank you for sharing your ideas with me. my family so love this chicken recipe...

    god bless!

  10. What a heart warming story -- great friendships makes life so beautiful. It is so great to hear you guys picked up right where you left off, I hope to keep in touch with all my close friends for many years to come. Great post and the chicken looks deeerrrrriiicious!!

  11. hi joy! it's great seeing you again! it's been awhile.. you should get in touch with your dear friends, they make life fun!

  12. Oh yum! This looks amazing. When I lived in LA, we had a little stand near my parents' house called "Tito's Lechon Manok". I loved it! This blog is making me miss it. I need to try my hand at Filipino food soon.

    Love your blog btw and you don't look like a mother of 3 at all! Great job :)

  13. dhale,
    thank you for stopping by... i was just at your tiny kitchen haha...admiring what you've been doing over there.
    thanks for the kind words and yes i do have 3 kids and my oldest is 21...

  14. I like the easy cooking recipe. Miso soup mix is also a good ready to use mix (just add with some mayonaise) for Salmon and any white fish.

  15. Your friend sounds so sweet! What a cute story.

    That chicken looks amazing. I am still super scared of preparing a whole chicken. Not sure why, but I am. Looks great, though.

  16. I couldn't log on to blogger for some reason so i'm commenting as Anonymous today...

    I can't believe it's that easy INDEED! I never thought of using sinigang mix as a marinate...but there you go... think outside the box Beancounter! Thanks Malou for sharing this!

    -The Beancounter

  17. I am definitely going to contact one of my high school friends whom I recently reconnected with late last year. It was more than 20 years since we had lost touch, we live in opposite parts of the world but when we spoke, just like you and your friend, it was as if we were never out of touch. I love friends like those :)

  18. thank you for sharing that recipe... i will definitely try miso mix soon!
    Hi Joanne! I hope you'll find the courage to cook whole chicken soon...

    hi beancounter, glad to see you around...when my friend suggested the idea, i was intrigued too...yet it turned out good and im glad i tried it.

    Hi Cynthia! That sounds fun! So excited for you. Im sure you'll have a blast!

  19. Never thought of sinigang mix that way. Haven't tried it but I could already taste the "sourness".. I love it already!


  20. thanks manila!
    try it , it's really yumny good!

  21. What a sexy bird, love it! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Kenny.. yeah it's such a sexy bird...LOL! thanks for dropping by!

  23. great post, great friendship. i also noticed your new banner. love it!

  24. thanks wonder mom..
    im glad you also liked the new banner!

  25. Awww that's a sweet gesture. And very interesting take on rubbing the sinigang mix - must try it sometime!

  26. Hi there! I do love the momofuku cookbook - It's such a great read I think as well! Loving your blog - will be back often! I have heard of roast chicken with sinigang mix before - I never understood how it could work - you've proved me wrong!

  27. Hi Trisha and Trissa, thanks for dropping by... im excited to join you ladies in Kulinarya!

    try to use the tamarind mix, use the one with calamansi... it's really delish!
    see you around!

  28. Wow you are lucky to get such a cool present. I have been meaning to get that Momofuku book. You know I have been making Fried Chicken with Sinigang mix for son long. Its so delicious.

  29. HI Kat!
    Thanks for stopping by... and I will try to use sinigang mix when i make fried chicken next time. Thanks for sharing!
    thanks for the invite... it's such an honor to be included in Petitchef. thank you!

  30. Just thought you should know, I bought two packets of sinigang mix and I intend on making this chicken real soon!

  31. dhale: lemme me know how you'll like it!!! btw, i ohpe you got one that says with calamansi... ENJOY!

  32. I've been peeking on ur chicken recipe for days...will cook this soon, interesting ha! with calamansi sinigang mix (i have to find this in one of d filo shops in here).

    I totally agree with true friends, even if u don't see each other for months or years, when u see each just click instantly, no awkwardness..

    have a nice day...and thanks for visiting also =)

  33. Cusinera:
    You could use the regular tamarind mix. I tried it thet other day and it works the same too!
    I hope to see you around cusinera!


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