You must have seen my posts/recipes for chicken nilaga and marag ed-dajaj. The first one being from my mom’s kitchen and the other one from my mom-in-law’s kitchen. Chicken Nilaga Ala Baba (recipe below) is what I call a fusion. It was my first realization that my mothers’ kitchens have a missing link, and that happens to be my own kitchen.
Let me share with you a little story how this recipe was born.
Before my husband and I were married, I was cooking chicken nilaga for the two of us. Determined to show me that he is also knowledgeable in the kitchen, he helped me cut the onions. I squinted while he worked but I was convinced, from the way he held the knife and cut the onions, that his claim was not just a claim – he knows how to cook! Well, cut onions, at the very least. 🙂
Baba (now my appellation for my husband), however, surprised me when he later asked, “When will you add the tomato sauce?” I was puzzled for a moment, but managed to remain composed. “Tomato sauce in nilaga??” Afraid to be blamed for a possible goof, I suggested that he can add the sauce anytime. He smiled then he took and opened a can of tomato sauce and poured its entire content straight into the pot with my chicken nilaga! I almost died, but I held on.
“Not yet, I have to try this one first!” I said to myself. I could not imagine ascending to heaven (if not going to hell) without having tried the first recipe this good-looking guy was cooking with me. Can you figure out the rest of the story?
I submitted the recipe (yes, the chicken nilaga with tomato sauce) to Del Monte Kitchenomics some 5 years later, and called it chicken nilaga ala baba. It was selected, among 30 others, to be featured in their Kitchenomics Kitchen on Philippine TV. It was also published in women’s magazines. I got hold of a copy from a library here in Saudi Arabia.
This one recipe is closest to my heart.
Ah, the choices of vegetables changed along the 25 years of marriage to the good-looking man. Talk about fusion, this is one.
- 1 kilo chicken, cut into desired sizes
- 5 cups water
- whole peppercorns
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 big onion, quartered
- 2 sweet potatoes, pared and quartered
- ½ head cabbage, quartered
- 1/3 kilo green beans (stringed and cut into 2” length)
- 2 pieces carrots, pared and cut into 2” lengths
- 135g tomato paste mixed with 1 cup water
- Bring 5 cups of water to boil with peppercorns, salt, and onion.
- Add chicken pieces, cover and cook till tender, adding sweet potatoes, carrots and green beans halfway through.
- Add tomato sauce and cabbage and cook for a few more minutes.
- Serve hot.