Sinampalukang Manok: What is it and How Did it Originate?

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Sinampalukang manok (or tamarind chicken) is a native Filipino dish that’s characterized by its sour and savory chicken broth. The ingredients usually include chicken meat, tamarind leaves, and flowers as a souring agent, and seasonings and aromatics cooked all together. This dish is especially best served as comfort food during the rainy or cold season.

Among other things, sinampalukang manok can be eaten as is or served together with steamed and hot rice for just about any meal.

Its especially sour taste is what makes it stand out from other sinigang-based dishes!

However, despite all its glory, you won’t typically see this dish being prepared more often, even in Philippine carinderias. The reason for this could be attributed to one of its core ingredients; freshly picked tamarind leaves or unripe fruit from local tamarind trees are hard to find.

What is Sinampalukang Manok

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There are no clear records as to where this Filipino sour chicken broth came from. Currently, this recipe is all over the Philippines, each region with its own different versions.

In other words, sinampalukang manok is another Filipino dish that’s well-loved by the whole country!

How to Prepare Tamarind Leaves for Sinampalukang Manok

  • Pick fresh tamarind leaves, hardy stems removed, and cut into small pieces.
  • Mince 3 cloves of garlic and 1 thumb-sized ginger.
  • Cut 1 medium onion into thin slices.
  • Slice 2 red onions into rings.
  • Cut 2 cups of cabbage into bite-sized pieces.
  • Chop 2 tomatoes into small cubes.
  • Prepare 1 tablespoon of miso paste.
  • Pick 2 green chili peppers and slice them thinly.
  • Brine 1 pound of chicken in 2 tablespoons of salt for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse the chicken and cut it into serving pieces.

Cooking the Soup

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic, ginger, and onion slices.
  • Sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the chicken pieces and brown them on all sides.
  • Pour in 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the tamarind leaves and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, miso paste, and sliced chili peppers.
  • Cover the pot and let it cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add the sliced red onions and cabbage.
  • Cover the pot and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Serving Suggestions

  • Sinampalukang manok (full recipe here) is best served hot with steamed rice.
  • You can also add fish instead of chicken to make sinampalukang isda.
  • This soup is highly versatile, and you can add different vegetables depending on your preference.
  • Thai chili peppers can be used instead of green chili peppers for a spicier kick.
  • Tamarind pods or tamarind juice can be used instead of tamarind leaves.
  • This dish is a great source of Vitamin C and is a popular Filipino soup.

Is Sinampalukang Manok a Healthy Dish?

Sinampalukang Manok is a Filipino soup dish composed of chicken, tamarind pods or leaves, ginger, onions, and water. The dish is similar to Sinigang, but the main difference is that Sinampalukang Manok involves the use of tamarind leaves or pods instead of unripe fruits. Tamarind is known for its sour taste, which gives the dish its distinct flavor. The dish is usually eaten with steamed rice and is a common course in Filipino households.

The Nutritional Content of Sinampalukang Manok

When it comes to the nutritional content of Sinampalukang Manok, the dish is generally considered healthy. Here are some reasons why:

  • The dish is composed of fresh ingredients, which means that it is not processed and does not contain preservatives.
  • Tamarind is known to have health benefits, such as aiding in digestion and reducing inflammation.
  • Chicken is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles.
  • The dish is low in fat, especially if you remove excess fat from the chicken before cooking.
  • The soup is mostly water-based, which means that it is low in calories.

However, there are some things to consider when it comes to the nutritional content of Sinampalukang Manok:

  • The dish may contain a high sodium content, especially if you add salt to the recipe.
  • The dish may also contain a high sugar content, especially if you add sweeteners to balance out the sourness of the tamarind.
  • The nutritional content may vary depending on the way you prepare the dish. For example, adding more chicken or using chicken parts with higher fat content may affect the overall nutritional value of the dish.

Healthy Alternatives

If you want to make Sinampalukang Manok even healthier, here are some tips:

  • Choose chicken parts with lower fat content, such as chicken breast or thigh without the skin.
  • Cut the chicken into smaller pieces to reduce cooking time and to make it easier to remove excess fat.
  • Use a mix of tamarind pods and leaves to add more flavor without adding more sugar.
  • Add more vegetables to the dish, such as spinach or bok choy, to increase the fiber content.
  • Use a low-sodium broth or water instead of adding salt to the recipe.

Sinampalukang Manok vs Sinigang: What’s the Difference?

The taste and texture of Sinampalukang Manok and Sinigang are also different:

  • Sinampalukang Manok has a sour and slightly spicy taste with a thinner soup, while Sinigang has a sour and savory taste with a thicker soup.
  • Sinampalukang Manok is a good alternative for those who prefer a simple and easy-to-prepare dish, while Sinigang is a great choice for those who want a more complex and flavorful soup.

Which One to Choose?

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between Sinampalukang Manok and Sinigang. It all depends on your personal preference and the occasion:

  • If you want a simple and easy-to-prepare soup that’s highly nutritious and low in fat content, go for Sinampalukang Manok.
  • If you’re a fan of sour and savory soups with a thicker soup base and different meat and vegetable parts, then Sinigang is the way to go.
  • If you’re in a hurry and need to prepare a soup dish faster, Sinampalukang Manok is a good choice since it involves fewer ingredients and a shorter cooking time.
  • If you want to try something different, you can also opt for Sinigang with pickled red onions or Sinampalukang Manok with added miso paste.

Note that the choice between Sinampalukang Manok and Sinigang can also affect the nutritional content of the dish. Sinampalukang Manok is a good source of protein, vitamin C, and iron, while Sinigang can contain more vegetables and other nutrients depending on the ingredients used.


So there you have it- everything you need to know about Sinampalukang manok. It’s a delicious Filipino soup made with tamarind leaves, chicken, and vegetables, and it’s a great way to get some vitamins and nutrients into your diet.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.