Mindanao is a vibrant region with an unexplored cuisine. Because of it’s geographical location, Mindanao has become a melting pot of various cultural influences. This shows clearly in the food, which is frankly, unfamiliar to many who live outside of Mindanao. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find Mindanaoan food around Metro Manila, save for a few stalls or small eateries that offer some Mindanaoan items on their menu.

Just because you can’t eat this cuisine in a restaurant doesn’t mean you can never try it! With the right ingredients you can easily bring the wonderful flavors of Mindanao into your own kitchen.

In the video below, I’m joined by my Maranao friend Haffy Guro who shows me how to make a classic Maranao dish: Chicken Piaparan.

This chicken dish usually makes use of native chicken, which would require longer cooking time. We opted for regular chicken instead, but if you try this recipe with native chicken let me know how that goes by tagging your photos with #thefatkidinside!

Recipe:

a. for the soup, you’ll need:

3 cloves of minced garlic

2 red onions sliced

1. sauté garlic and onions then add chicken
2. add water (enough to cover the chicken)
3. add palapa (1 tbsp or it depends if you want it to be spicy)
4. add Turmeric (1 tbsp)
5. salt to taste

a.2 after the chicken has boiled:
1. remove the chicken
2. Add 1 cup of coconut milk
3. put vegetables of your choice (chayote + cabbage)

b. piaparan a manok

b.1 While waiting for the chicken to boil, in a separate bowl:

COOK:
1. mix the shredded coconut (2 cups), turmeric (2tsps) and palapa (2 tbsp more or less)
2. in a pan, heat coconut oil
3. add the bell pepper (1 whole sliced)
4. add the mixed shredded coconut and cook until fragrant

b.2 after the chicken has boiled:
1. add the chicken to the pan with the coconut
2. mix and leave in the pan, on a low fire, for about 10mins.

Finally, plate and enjoy!

The Maranao people live on the land that surrounds Mindanao’s Lake Lanao. Majority of them are Muslim so their cuisine abides by Halal laws. You’d notice a lot of their food has a yellow or orange tint, and that’s because of turmeric. Maranao recipes also use a lot of coconut meat, or coconut milk. They also make use of palapa, a mixture of caramelized shallots (sakurab), ginger, and chilli peppers. These are all ground and pressed until the mixture reaches a chunky sauce-like consistency.

I’m excited to explore what the rest of Mindanao has to offer regarding their cuisine. What dish should I learn to make next? Let me know in the comments!

Erwan Heussaff
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