Our food (Philippine cuisine) in general is a delicious mix of different cuisines from other countries/ cultures. The most dominant was the influence of Spanish in our way of cooking, three hundred years under their rule for sure created a deep impression that eventually became the foundation for a lot of our delicious dishes… like this Afritada.
We have a lot of tomato-based stew dishes in our cuisine that were undoubtedly adapted from Spanish cuisine using our local produce. I LOve, love, love this kind of dish, anything with tomatoes that is. It’s rich, full of flavor and of course super delicious.
Fritada is a spanish word meaning fried, now for the A in afritada, hmmn, it probably means tomato sauce or cooked in tomato sauce, ha ha ha. I really don’t have a clue, one thing for sure is true: This is very, very good.
Chicken Afritada is a stew of pan-fried chicken pieces and tomato sauce with some potatoes and bellpeppers. It was most probably adapted from a Spanish/latin dish called pollo guisado (sauteed chicken) which has olives in it. It is also comparable to the Italian’s pollo alla cacciatore or chicken cacciatore.
Our chicken afritada is a simpler version of both with very few ingredients; using tomato sauce instead of traditional sofrito ( a simple garlic, onion and tomato saute, cooked for at least an hour; basically a tomato sauce), the base of most Spanish/latin- influenced dishes and my favorite sarciado.
This dish is quite simple to make. Since it uses ready made tomato sauce, it’s less intimidating to new cooks since there’s no need to cut a lot of tomatoes , which makes it easier and quicker of course . You should give this a try. Trust me, you’ll get nothing but praises from your love ones.
Here’s how to cook chicken Afritada
wash and pat-dry chicken, sear or pan-fry both sides till brown; while that is cooking, prepare your veggies
dice garlic and onion; cut bellpeppers into big chunks, easy. The potatoes are quite shy and doesn’t want to be seen here..
saute garlic, onion; add tomato sauce, water. Bring to boil, add chicken, cook until tender and add the chilies and potatoes, cook for 5 minutes
then add the bell peppers, simmer (low boil) for about 5 minutes more or until veggies are cooked (you decide how you want it, with a crunch or really cooked and wilted)
add bread crumbs to thicken the sauce.. wait for one more minute before serving with hot steamed rice (if you remembered to cook it)
RECIPE FOR CHICKEN AFRITADA
500 g of chicken legs or thighs ( I use 6 chicken legs, always a favorite of mine and the kids)
1 tablespoon olive oil or your regular cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, diced (chopped into little squares)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 medium bellpeppers ( one green and one red)
3 green finger chillies, cut tip off to release heat while cooking
2-3 medium potatoes, wash, peeled and quartered
salt and pepper or fish sauce to taste
1/4 cup bread crumbs ( I used 1 slice of whole wheat bread and process it in a mini-food processor)
First, thoroughly wash the chicken and pat dry; lightly season with salt and pepper. In a saucepan or a deep pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat and sear/fry the chickens pieces. Turn to cook both sides. Set aside.
In the same pan, saute the garlic, onion until cooked, you know it is when the onion turns transparent or opaque and quite soft. Add the tomato sauce and water, bring to a boil and add the fried/seared chicken pieces back in the pan as well as the potatoes and green chillies. Season with salt and pepper, I like to season with patis or fish sauce, if you don’t have it or don’t like it, just use sea salt and ground black pepper.
Cover the saucepan and bring to boil, lower the heat and let cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and add the bellpeppers and cook until both chicken and vegetables are tender. Add breadcrumbs last to thicken the sauce, cook for a minute before turning off the heat.
Serve with hot steamed rice.