Ginataang Manok (Chicken, Ginger, & Spinach in Coconut Milk)

My local grocery store, an A&P Fresh, recently started carrying their own line of “international specialties” — mostly condiments and sauces — under the label Food Emporium Trading Company. Their light coconut milk caught my eye while I was looking for evaporated skim (for Mrs. Jones’ Macaroni & Cheese), so I bought it several weeks ago with the intention of finding a recipe that called for coconut milk.

Originally, I thought I’d make a curry, but I found a recipe for the Filipino dish Ginataang Manok in my search and thought it looked worth trying.

The recipe calls for 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk, but I used the same amount of light instead. I knew it would impact the thickness of the sauce, and truthfully my sauce was so thin it was more like a broth. I think you could easily get away with cooking this dish in a single can of coconut milk, and if you use a light version I think you’d notice the difference from full-fat milk less. I also subbed an 11-ounce container of fresh baby spinach (whole, I didn’t chop it) instead of the frozen. It cooks down into a very reasonable amount (and probably added to the wateriness of the sauce).

My mother-in-law was clearly skeptical of this dish while it was cooking. But she was a good sport and tried it, and wound up thinking it was very good. I liked it as well, though the leftovers staring back at me from the fridge did not appeal to me the next day, and I have to admit I threw them out. Because the sauce is white, I was able to serve all the kids the same chicken we ate, but removed from the sauce. They were none the wiser.

All in all, an adequate dinner for us, but not one I would make again. It makes me happy to have cooked something outside my comfort zone, though, so in terms of trying something new it was a definite winner.

4 thoughts on “Ginataang Manok (Chicken, Ginger, & Spinach in Coconut Milk)

  1. I’ve never used real coconut milk. I always use Carnation brand Light and Creamy Coconut Evaporated Milk, not sure if they have that there or not.

    I make a Thai curry dish called Chicken Massaman at least every few weeks, sometimes every week and I use the fake coconut milk in that and it’s still delicious. It’s one of our favourites and all three kids love it.

    1. I’ve never seen that type of coconut milk, but one of my roommates in college used to make massaman curry and coconut rice, and cooking this dish totally brought me back to those college days!

      1. Dara, you should definitely see if you’ve got something similar to that, it’s still lovely and creamy, but with way less fat. The flavour is great, too.

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