Food, Life

Notcho Grandma’s Chicken

[How would you like to breathe THAT when you walk outside of your house?]

Actually, it is.  I’m going to share a family secret with you today.  Don’t tell nobody!  Actually, do.  It’s a pretty delicious secret.

But first of all: Boulder has been in the news this past week, and unfortunately it’s not for very happy reasons.  We’ve had some wicked wildfires going on just to the west of downtown Boulder, right over the Flatirons (the foothills here) and unnervingly close to our apartment.  It’s a major bummer – over a hundred homes have burned down at this point, and authorities are saying it’s probably going to take another ten days or so to contain the fires.  Also, this town smells like a damn bonfire.

I took these pictures from my office – keep in mind, those mountains are like 3 miles away, not 30.  Also, the air is not supposed to be brown.  This is not L.A.  (Sorry, guys.)

[Yeah.  We normally have pretty amazing mountain views.  Now they’re brown-views.]

[I know it’s still not a BAD view, but it’s pretty gnarly, right?!]

[Poor Boulder 😦 ]

Okay, so now that we’ve covered the depressing portion of today’s news, let’s talk chicken.  We don’t have that many recipes in my family that have passed down through more than one generation – my mom is a great cook, but there aren’t too many recipes that she or my dad got from their parents.  This one, however, IS a family recipe (what if it weren’t?  After that whole prelude?), and I actually learned it from my dad (who got it from his mom).  It is delicious, and salty, and soy-saucey, and actually not THAT bad for you if you do it right.  It’s called Filipino Chicken.


  • Skinless chicken breasts (around one breast per person)
  • Flour (between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup – it’s just for breading the outside, so quantity isn’t that important)
  • Bread crumbs (any kind are fine – italian, homemade, whatever)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (also for breading the outside)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your pan)
  • Soy sauce – depending on how big your pan is, between 1/2 cup and a cup
  • White vinegar – quantity isn’t important – it just needs to be the same amount as the soy sauce
  • White or brown rice (whatever amount is right for the number of people you’re cooking for)
  • Pine nuts (an optional but TOTALLY DELICIOUS accessory to this meal)


Get the rice going right at the beginning, because the chicken takes about the same amount of time to prepare and cook.  My mom got me this AWESOME rice cooker with a veggie steamer attachment from Target before I moved, because she loves me and she doesn’t want me to ever have to figure out how to steam veggies any other way.  Or…cook rice in a pan (gasp!).  I steamed broccoli and snow peas to go with my chicken dish!

Throw the flour and bread crumbs in a bowl that will be wide enough so that you can move the chicken breast around in it to cover it.  Grind pepper into the flour until you can see it interspersed with the flour after mixing it around – otherwise, it gets lost and none gets on the chicken.  And then WHAT would be the point of your aching wrist?!  Owies!!

Grab your chicken breast (or breasts, but one at a time, please, and get your mind out of the gutter) and roll it around in the flour-bread crumbs-pepper mix until it’s nicely coated and your fingers feel totally gooky.  If chicken eeks you out, have someone else do this part, because you’re going to get dirty.  And it’s going to be from chicken juice.  You’re going to need to get over it…now.

Heat up some Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a pan.  Preferably, a really shiny pan like mine.  (Okay, I didn’t mean to sound snobby.  I just really like this pan!)  When the oil is nice and hot (I do it just above medium temp on the stove), throw in that chicken!  Time to brown, y’all.  (Uhhh…I think that recently I’ve picked up this Paula Deen-esque tendency to sound really irritating and southern when I’m describing cooking.  At least I don’t say “brolla” yet (that’s “broiler” in Deen-speak))!

Turn that puppy – I mean chicken – when it’s brown on one side.  Time to brown the other side!

NOW comes the part that makes this chicken “Filipino” as opposed to “Japanese” or “Russian.”  I actually have no clue why it’s called Filipino Chicken, but we’ll just go with it.  I call the following pictures “Soy Sauce and Vinegar Hang Out, and It’s Good.”

Mix together equal parts soy sauce and white vinegar – you’ll want to do enough to cover the bottom of the pan and come up at least a quarter- or half-inch on the sides of the chicken breast.

BFF’s!  Who knew??

Now, just let the chicken hang out in there for a while.  Cover up the pan with your fancy pan cover (AH!  There I go again…), and turn it after 6 or 7 minutes.  I let the chicken cook for around 15 minutes, until both sides start to look nice and…

WAIT!  That’s broccoli.  That picture doesn’t make any sense as a continuation for that last cliffhanger.  Sorry!  But mmm, snap peas!

FLUORESCENT ORANGE!  There we go.  Yeah, the chicken should really look enticingly brown, not fake-tan-orange.  I’m going to go ahead and blame my flash.  I swear there’s no glow stick anywhere in this recipe.  Please don’t give up on me.

Anyway, combine the rice and chicken on a plate, and then use the extra sauce from the pan as gravy for the rice and veggies.  Oh, DAMNIT, did I just say gravy?!  Guess it’s not so healthy after all.  Well, it was a good solid run.

So, there you have it, folks.  Filipino Chicken.  It’s totally delicious, and I had it for dinner tonight and I’m still kickin’, so you know it’s not poisonous.  I was going to make a joke here about buying soy sauce from a shady co-op, but instead, I’ll just say sorry for what would have been a really poor attempt at humor.

Hope your week is going well!  Send anti-firey vibes our way (if they come in the form of money, that’s fine too).  This weekend, I’m going bear hunting!  Just kidding…I really don’t even know what I’m saying right now.  BYE!

5 thoughts on “Notcho Grandma’s Chicken”

  1. i reeeeally thought i was looking at LA, can you imagine if you had that view most of the time?
    your chixpix made me hungry.

  2. If the horizon from LA looked like that on any given day there would be an uproar of residents and meteorologists alike claiming that somehow, some way the smog was gone, the air was clean and everything was going to be OK. Hold a piece of paper over your computer screen and look at the picture through that. THAT is what the skyline of the mountains from work usually looks like.

  3. We were just checking in to see if you’d posted anything on the fire . . . the prof who married us is likely evacuated – keep an eye out on it all girl and keep us posted.

  4. It can also be fun (but a little less healthy) to include some bread crumbs in your flour & pepper mix. Perhaps whole wheat bread crumbs?

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