15 Oct2007

I am sitting at my desk, typing this while a tropical downpour rages outside. I have always assumed that tropical raindrops are bigger than those in the West, whether that is fact or not, I do not know. The sound of rain on the galvanized iron roof has always been comforting for me, as long as there aren’t any leaks dripping water on me… During the rainy season, I love having hot and comforting soup, and this is one of m all-time favorites, first featured over two years ago. I couldn’t get myself to make an authentic pinikpikan, so this is my more politically correct version… enjoy!

I started out trying make or approximate a real “pinikpikan” soup pinik1from the Mountain Provinces. Forget it. Just the cursory research had me reading in increasing horror the method for properly “beating” a live native chicken with a stick while holding it over an open flame with its feathers and all. Essentially, as I understand it, the gentle breaking of blood vessels while you are burning off its feathers makes for a succulent, bloody, tasty bird that then flavors the broth of the soup. The charred skin with all remnants of burned feathers gone provides a unique flavor. Yikes. I have absolutely nothing against the concept of different cultures having different foods, I personally just couldn’t do this method of bird abuse and grilling. I can barely fathom the thought of twisting a chicken’s neck if I had to kill one myself (easier for me to run it over at 80 kph on a provincial road) let alone hold it down on an open flame while it squirms and screams bloody murder! Hmm…now that’s an idea perfectly tailored for an unethical and intrusive telemarketer. And I will be the first to admit a good pinikpikan does truly taste really good. So now what? I decided to take some of the base ingredients of a pinikpikan and improvise – and the surprising result was a simply superb Ham and Chicken Soup a la Marketman, sans fowl torture tactics.

This soup was extremely good, a 9.50 out of 10 in my opinion, biased and all. First make the soup stock by filling a medium pot ½ full of water and adding the bones of one majestic ham or similar ham. The bones are sold at Majestic ham counters for roughly PHP50-60 (a bargain!). pinik2Add two stalks of celery chopped into big pieces, one large slice of ginger and one whole white onion chopped coarsely. Add two knorr chicken cubes (horrible, I know, what? Marketman uses instant cubes?, just bear with me…) and simmer this for about an hour and a half until a nice broth is obtained. Strain this soup and return the broth to the pot and heat it up. Meanwhile, roast a whole chicken until it develops a nice dark brown skin, or if pressed for time, rush over to Pricesmart or a grocery that sells whole chicken from their rotisserie! I used a Pricesmart chicken, the darkest most burnt one I could find, and cut it up and left out only the yuckiest bone parts and dark muck inside the cavity. Put chicken parts into the soup, add one stalk of chopped celery and let it return to a boil. Add one peeled and sliced sayote, about 200 grams of sliced ham (I used Majestic since I got the bones there), chopped in large pieces and add some salt and pepper to taste. Not too much salt as the ham and bones can be salty. Then when you are just minutes to serving the soup, add two handfuls of watercress and maybe 20 pechay leaves and cook for just a minute or so before serving.

The soup was delicious! The broth was medium brown and relatively clear. The instant cubes were well masked by the stronger flavor of the ham bones. pinik3The chicken and ham were tasty and substantial, the sayote a nice foil to the saltier meats. The greens were vibrant as they were just barely cooked and added stunning color to the overall dish. This had salty, sweet, meat, vegetable – yum! Served with a bowl of steamed rice it was a perfect rainy day meal. This recipe would easily serve 6 with large portions or 8 with medium sized portions. Total cost was about PHP500: PHP200 for ham bones and sliced ham, PHP200 for Pricesmart chicken, PHP70 for vegetables (try and use imported celery, it’s better) and PHP 30 for gas and water and depreciation on my equipment. Assuming 6 huge portions, that would only be about PHP83 per person. Not bad, huh? Try it, you will definitely use this recipe again and again.



  1. Epi says:

    Perfect timing, can’t think of anything to cook for dinner. Running off to the supermarket now to get the ingredients. I’m looking at the sky and praying it rains as hard as last nights downpour (in davao). Many thanks MM

    Oct 15, 2007 | 2:36 pm


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  3. dizzy says:

    i also love pinikpikan but cringe at the thought that i am party to a poor chicken’s torturous ordeal. strangely, i don’t think i know of a place here in manila that serves this dish. i think i always had this dish either in baguio or sagada. but thanks for this ingenious substitute =)

    Oct 15, 2007 | 2:52 pm

  4. mikelinparis says:

    love soup and this looks delish!

    Oct 15, 2007 | 5:00 pm

  5. Silly Lolo says:

    Can you imagine this soup on a cold and foggy San Francisco day? Heaven, I tellya! Thanks, MM.

    Oct 16, 2007 | 12:08 am

  6. Maria Clara says:

    Hot soup is comforting during rainy days and cold weather – it energizes and warms up the body.

    Oct 16, 2007 | 1:42 am

  7. Apicio says:

    Murder Most Fowl… I find our normal way of snuffing a chicken with a knife and catching the blood on a plate with uncooked rice barbarous enough though as a young person I found the boiled blood with patis truly delicious , almost like fresh morcillas. Doing proper pinikpikan seems as heartless as the way they reputedly put out the eyes of ortolans as part of their fattening procedure which was no wonder its preparation was outlawed in France (1999) although it did not stop the sick François Mitterrand from requesting it as one of the entrees for his final dinner (1998). Of course the force-feeding of geese is cruel and heathenish too but seems a small price to pay (because it’s the gueese that pay it) in exchange for our voluptuous pleasure of washing it down with the requisite Sauterne.

    Oct 16, 2007 | 4:16 am

  8. lee says:

    fowl play?

    Oct 16, 2007 | 9:42 am

  9. Blaise says:

    I like hot soups, especially chicken soup, may it be rainy or sunny.. That soup looks really delicious..

    Oct 16, 2007 | 9:43 am

  10. Candygirl says:

    Oops, I almost forgot I have a ham bone in the freezer. Thanks for the reminder :-)

    Oct 16, 2007 | 11:23 pm


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