Chicken Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk)

  • 2 lbs. chicken (combination of thigh and breast), chopped into serving slices
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, minced
  • 3 stalks tanglad or lemongrass (white bottom part), lightly pounded
  • 2 cups unang gata ng niyog (first coconut milk extraction)
  • 2 to 3 cups ikalawang gata ng niyog (second coconut milk extraction)
  • 1 small green papaya, peeled, deseeded and sliced into wedges
  • 3-5 pcs. (or more) red Thai chilies, chopped
  • a handful of chili leaves
  • 3 tbsps. patis (fish sauce)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsps. cooking oil

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté garlic, onion and ginger until very fragrant. Cook for a couple of minutes or until wilted.
  2. Add chicken and lightly fry, stirring occasionally. Cook until the color turns light brown on all sides. Add fish sauce and continue to stir fry for another minute.
  3. Gradually pour in the second extract of coconut milk, just enough to cover the chicken. Bring to a light simmer. Add lemongrass and red Thai chilies. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is almost fork tender. Stir occasionally to avoid curdles from forming.
  4. Add the first extract of coconut milk. Add papaya. Continue to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the papaya is cook through and the chicken is fork tender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add the chili leaves and leave aside for 3 minutes to let the chili leaves cook in residual heat.
  6. Transfer the dish in a serving bowl and serve along with hot steamed rice. Enjoy!

**Number of Servings: 4 to 6

  1. This dish goes well with native brown chickens. They are less meaty but more flavorful and require longer time to cook compared to commercialized chicken.
  2. You can substitute spinach or moringa leaves if chili leaves are not available.