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10 March 2015

Pininyahang Gulay: A Healthful Alternative

Photo by Rob San Miguel
I was a bit nervous making this one. I have always found it difficult to cook healthful alternatives to usual Filipino dishes.  I have always loved “pininyahang manok” (pineapple chicken) but this dish is often not healthful so I decided to experiment, and viola! Surprise, surprise, my experiment turned out to be delicious. That is saying much because I am a terrible cook. I guess if I can come up with a tasty dish, anyone can.

The great thing about this dish is that it is very low in sodium, which is good for people who have high uric acid level or want to lower their uric acid level. This dish also contains ingredients rich in vitamin C, potassium and other joints and heart-friendly ingredients. I do not usually follow a strict measurements of ingredients, I just go with the taste so feel free to adjust the measurements depending on your taste and the number of people who will be eating.

  • 2 ½ tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 ½ tablespoon chopped onions
  • 1 medium-size ripe tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 cup sweet orange potatoes (diced). You may also use other kinds of sweet potatoes. Regular potatoes will also balance the sweetness of the dish.
  • 1 cup carrots (diced)
  • 1 medium-sized red bell pepper (cut into small squares). You may also use green bell pepper but the red variety is sweeter and contains more vitamin C
  • 2 regular size saging na saba (sweet plantain), cut about 1½  inches or you decide
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of tapioca or cassava starch (dissolved in 3 tablespoon of water). Regular cornstarch is bad for people with joint pains. I bought tapioca/cassava starch in SM
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple (diced or tidbits)
  • 1 cup pineapple juice (fresh not in a can). I bought a small ripe pineapple from a street vendor. The skin was already removed. I cut the whole fruit in half and I diced the other half. The other half, I crush it to get the juice and threw away the pulp. I do not have a juicer, but if you have one, that will be easier.
  • Extra virgin olive oil (about 3-4 tablespoon)
If you are not ready to go full vegetarian, you may add chicken breast fillet.  
  1. Cut the chicken breast fillet first. You can decide how big you want the slices.  Then, fry the pieces of chicken breast in olive oil until they become slightly brown.Set aside. (Skip this part if you want the vegetarian version)
  2. Sauté garlic and onions in olive oil
  3. Once the garlic and onions are done, add the tomatoes and continue to sauté
  4. Add 2 cups of water and the carrots, let it boil. (For the non-vegetarians, you can add the fried chicken breast fillet here)
  5. Then add the sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes soften faster than carrots so do not add the sweet potatoes with the carrots at the same time or the sweet potatoes will become too soggy when overcooked
  6. Once the carrots and sweet potatoes are done, add the pineapple tidbits, red bell pepper and the pineapple juice. Let it simmer.
  7. Then add dissolved tapioca starch. This will thicken the sauce. If you do not want the sauce to be too thick, you may some water. It is all up to you.
That's it. Once cooked, served with brown rice. Bon appétit!

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