A favorite family weekend breakfast for us is enjoying Chicken Tocino, paired with sinangag (Filipino garlic fried rice), fried eggs, with a side of chopped tomatoes. Tocino is cured meat, and in the Philippines, especially my hometown region in the Tarlac and Pampanga provinces, pork was used more often. I wanted a change after the holiday binge, and used chicken instead.
The ingredients were right here in my pantry, in my American kitchen. And it only took a minimum of three days to cure the meat during the week. So, by the weekend, we were ready to dive into the luscious, shiny chicken slices. They were sweet and savory all at once, and went well with the saltiness of the garlic rice.
I used boneless chicken cuts, which I tenderized before marinating. Using a meat mallet, I pounded the chicken slices. This helps prepare the meat to be tender after it’s cooked. Then I simply combined all the marinade ingredients and massaged them into the chicken. After a few days in the freezer, the Chicken Tocino was ready to be cooked for our weekend brunch.
My hometown Tarlac recently celebrated the annual town fiesta. Activities must have been scaled down due to the pandemic. But thoughts of our town fiesta, reminded me of childhood breakfasts at home, of sweet tocino, served with sinangag (garlic rice), fried eggs, and chopped tomatoes. Amidst the aroma of coffee which my father regularly enjoyed, I can still picture the dining table, filled with this colorful spread my mother prepared. It was just the thing to start the day right.
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 freezer plastic container - large
- 1 Large Skillet: 12-inches diameter
For meat marinade:
- 1 pound chicken breasts and thighs; boneless, skin-on, thinly sliced in serving pieces, about 2 to 3 inches length
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika powder
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 2 Tablespoons white wine
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
For cooking Chicken Tocino:
- ½ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- Sinangag (garlic fried rice)
- Fried eggs
- chopped tomatoes salsa
To prepare and cure the chicken:
- Slice chicken cuts into thin, serving pieces, about 2 to 3 inches in length.Using a meat mallet or the back of a large knife, pound the chicken meat. This helps tenderize the meat, and yields better results after cooking.In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients: salt, paprika, pineapple juice, white wine, and brown sugar. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade in the bowl. Using your hands, massage the meat well, to incorporate the marinade.Store the chicken in resealable plastic freezer bags or a covered plastic container. Keep in the freezer for at least 3 days before cooking.*Note: This keeps in the freezer for 1 to 2 months, till you are ready to cook.
To cook Chicken Tocino:
- Thaw the chicken at room temperature. Do not microwave.In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add the chicken pieces. Lay them side by side, next to each other. Do not overlap the chicken.Pour the half cup of water. Simmer the chicken in the water, till the liquid evaporates in about 8 to 10 minutes.When liquid is gone, pour the oil. Allow the chicken to pan fry and turn a reddish-brown. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes till chicken is completely done.When meat is cooked, plate on a serving platter. Serve warm with sinangag (garlic rice), fried eggs, and chopped tomatoes.
- To cook the sinangag, I use the pan drippings of the Chicken Tocino.Using the same skillet which has the oil from cooking the tocino, add 1 clove minced garlic. Add about 2 to 3 cups of cooked rice (previously refrigerated if possible). Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix well. Serve warm with the Chicken Tocino.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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