I gather there are several variations of this soup from the island of Panay. Simple chicken broths, sometimes cooked in fresh bamboo, now mostly done in a typical pot on a stove. Vegetables included can vary based on what’s in the backyard. Some would say this is simply a version of tinola, a chicken soup enjoyed in many other parts of the country. But the Binakol with young coconut meat and water is the soup that I seem to favor the most. I have been tinkering with our Binakol recipe recently and am quite happy with the version I have today. We served the soup in coconut shells for lunch the other day and it was an extremely elegant way to present what is really more like a “peasant” soup. If you leave the coconut meat in the shell, guests can scrape off as much or as little as they want.
The soothing chicken broth, the surprising texture of young coconut and the natural sweetness of its juice makes for a very satisfying mouth full. I like the way the soup gets layers of flavor despite its relatively short cooking time. You can take this up another notch with the addition of a few other flavor punches added on at the last minute. But I won’t give everything away just yet. :) There is a previous post on Chicken Binakol in the archives in case you want to make it… This soup has definitely become one of our favorites. Oh, and don’t forget, serve with a dipping sauce of limes, siling labuyo or chillies, and fish sauce. Lots of rice is also a pre-requisite. :)