Chicken Tocino Recipe – Filipino Cooking


Tocino is bacon in Spanish and is traditionally made with cured pork belly. In the Philippines, it’s made with either pork or chicken. Old school practice for tocino uses sugar, salt and saltpeter with maybe a little pineapple juice for tartness. It’s then left to cure for at least 3 days. In some regions, the meat is actually fermented at room temp to achieve a sour flavour to the meat. In our recipe today, we will be making a marinade with a similar flavour signature, but with a lot less work.

You will need:

•2 lb boneless chicken, thinly sliced

•juice of ½ a lemon

•1 teaspoon soy sauce

•2 teaspoons annatto seeds, steeped in 1 tablespoon of boiling water

•½ teaspoon ground black pepper

•1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar

•1 teaspoon garlic powder

•¼ cup ginger beer

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken with the juice of ½ a lemon, soy sauce, annatto seed extract, black pepper, brown sugar and garlic powder. Cover the meat with some of the Jamaican ginger beer and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

Heat up a frying pan on high heat with a tablespoon of oil and fry the marinated chicken until browned. Since it’s so thinly sliced, it should cook fairly fast. As it cooks, the sugars from the marinade will caramelize and turn crispy.

This is one of many favourite choices in a typical Filipino breakfast called silog. A silog is a  breakfast consisting of garlic fried rice, fried egg, a slice of fresh tomato with your choice of meat. Since we’re having tocino, we would call it tocilog.

Today, I’m giving the classic tocilog a little twist by serving it as a sandwich with garlic yaki onigiri in the place of buns. I’m gonna top it with a nice fried egg and there you have it. A nice handheld tocilog.

Tocilog sandwich

If you want to pack it for a road trip or picnic, you can also use it as a filling for kimbap. This meat is very versatile. You can freeze the marinated meat and cook it when you need it, enjoying it however you like, be it on a simple bowl of rice or noodles. How will you enjoy your tocino?

So take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

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