This dish, although not one of the town's classic fares, was invented in Marikina. It was the innovation of a couple named Henry and Naty Jao who were poultry retailers at the town market. The chicken is mildly flavoured with adobo seasonings then is sautéed with chopped onions and ground chicken liver.
My Mum took such a liking to this dish and cooked it so often. In the end, her dish evolved into one that was very different from the original even if it had the same ingredients. She did apply a distinct secret twist that she shared with me. She adds a tiny pinch of curry powder, unidentifiable but enough to make people say, "Hmmm, what is that?" (to borrow Rachel Ray's immortal words).
Sad to say, people who miss this dish will now have to cook it themselves. This is the first time it is being written and shared. I have added my own twist by using chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken and using liver paté instead of chicken livers. I hope I did justice to my Mum's version of Chicken ala Jao.
8 chicken thighs or 1 whole chicken cut into portions
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
2 tbsps. vinegar
2 tbsps. sherry
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
cooking oil for shallow frying
2 tbsps. butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 c. liver paté
1/2 tsp. curry powder
2 tbsps. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. water
Put the chicken portions or thighs in a pan and season with the fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sherry, garlic and ground black pepper. Leave to marinade for at least half an hour.
Add 1/2 c. water. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for half an hour, turning the chicken pieces over at half time. When done, take the chicken out of the sauce. Reserve the sauce.
Pan fry the chicken until lightly browned. Set aside.
In a clean pan, sauté the chopped onions in the butter until softened. Add the liver paté and sauté until it is lightly browned. Add the curry powder and brown sugar and stir for a minute.
Add the chicken pieces, the reserved sauce and 1 c. water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about half an hour or until the chicken is tender. A bit more water may be added if the sauce gets too dry. This is now done.
I served it here with rice and a simple mixed vegetable stir fry. I love it as pan de sal (Filipino bread rolls) filling, too.
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