The chicken a la pobre, which appeared in my DIY column in last Thursday’s (October 24) issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was just one of the many dishes served during Cravings’ 25th anniversary celebration. Held in the house of Annie Guerrero and her daughter Badjie Trinidad, the luncheon included other delectable dishes such as:
a fresh salad with Annie’s own honey dressing,
baked fish in olive oil,
Indeed, Cravings has come a long way since its modest beginnings in Katipunan Avenue back in 1988. At that time, Annie and Badjie had to make do with two small kitchens in an adobe house, with help from only seven staffers. From the two kitchens into which they had subdivided the house, they had to fill in orders for cakes and pastries as well as for takeout meals. Among the best sellers were the blueberry cheesecake, mango bars, cheese cupcakes and ensaimadas. But with no dining room, the students in the nearby schools who frequented the fledgling food establishment ended up eating those delectable treats in the parking lot.
It got to the point where Annie and Badgie finally decided to improvise a dining room, bringing in furniture from their own house as well as tables and some batibot chairs.
Today, those start-up years well behind them, Annie and Badgie can well be proud of their success. Cravings has become well entrenched in the Philippines’ culinary map. It has six branches, as well as sister restaurants and events places. As a way of giving back, Cravings has a whole bunch of treats for its customers until the end of the year, including a price rollback for some of its original dishes and a commemorative menu. Find out more about these special offers in Cravings’ facebook page: www.facebook.com/cravingsphilippines.
You can also read more about Cravings in my DIY column in the October 24 issue of Inquirer Lifestyle (page C2) or click on this link: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/132885/chicken-a-la-pobre
Meanwhile, here’s the recipe for chicken a la pobre.
Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of the procedure. This recipe may be simple but it’s certainly delicious, and therefore a real “keeper.” It will surely become one of your “old reliables”, a dish you’ll want to cook over and over again—for lunch, for dinner, and even for festive gatherings.
NOTE: For additional tips, please scroll down after the “Cook’s Tips” section.
Cravings’ Chicken a la Pobre
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp liquid seasoning
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 kilo chicken thighs, bone-in (around 6 to 7 pieces)
Cooking oil, or nonstick cooking spray
Toasted minced garlic
In a bowl, combine garlic, cayenne pepper, liquid seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Marinate chicken thighs in the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes.
When ready to cook, spray griller with nonstick cooking spray or brush griller with cooking oil. Heat the griller to medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill the chicken thighs, skin side down first. Turn chicken thighs over after around 10 to 15 minutes and continue grilling until chicken is fully cooked and tender. Serve with toasted garlic and with gravy, if desired. Makes 6 servings.
*For a stronger flavor, double the amount of the marinade. You should also double the amount of the marinade if cooking more than one kilo of chicken thighs.
*If desired you can debone the chicken. Spread out the chicken, butterfly style. This will make it cook faster.
*So as not to burn the garlic when toasting it in a pan, use only low heat and stir the garlic in the pan continuously until it turns a light golden brown.
*To toast garlic: Sauté it in a small pan over melted butter or a little olive oil. While sautéing it add a bit of salt to enhance its flavor.
*Freshly toasted or sautéed garlic is best to use as topping for the chicken, but if you’re in a hurry, you can use bottled garlic instead. Bottled garlic is available in the supermarket and in specialty stores.
*To remove any lingering taste of garlic, chew on mint leaves or parsley leaves. Eating some chilled fresh fruits also helps.
*You can also cook the chicken thighs in the turbo broiler. Arrange the chicken thighs in a heat-proof dish that will fit inside the turbo broiler. Set the broiler at 350ºF (around 180ºC), cook for around 15 minutes then turn the chicken thighs over and cook for another 15 minutes or until chicken thighs are fully cooked and tender.