How to Make Binakol, A Healthy Filipino Chicken Coconut Soup

Coconuts have countless purposes in Filipino households. Add to the list this beloved chicken soup from Western Visayas: Binakol.

What is Binakol?

Binakol is similar to tinola, another popular Filipino chicken soup. Traditionally, this Ilonggo dish is cooked in bamboo tubes over an open flame. This gives it a deeper flavor because of the flavor imparted by the inner lining of the bamboo. Though this method is not practical in a household setting, it’s still possible to cook a delicious binakol at home.

It has a distinct sweetness that comes from the fresh coconut juice. Not only is it comforting on colder days, but it’s also incredibly healthy. All the rich flavors come from natural ingredients.

How to Make Binakol

Many home cooks might be intimidated to make binakol using fresh coconut because of how difficult it is to open. I’ll show you how to open a fresh coconut easily in the video below. It’s definitely worth it! Here’s how to make binakol from scratch.

Watch the video below to see how to make binakol. Scroll down for the complete recipe.

  • 600g chicken thighs
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 thumb sized ginger, sliced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 green chilies
  • 2 large young coconuts for meat and water
  • additional 1L of coconut water
  • fish sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • handful of chilli leaves or spinach
1. Open the coconut and collect the coconut water. Split the coconut in half to peel off the white meat.
2. Prep white onion, mince your garlic, make slits in your green chillies, cut the tough part from the lemongrass and just pound it lightly. Thinly slice your ginger.
3. Heat some peanut oil in a large pot. Sear your chicken on both sides until golden brown. Take it out, keep the fat in, start by frying off your ginger until golden, then add your garlic and onions and fry for 5mins before mixing in the chicken and topping it all off with coconut water. Place in your lemongrass, bring to a simmer, cover and cook on low for about 45mins. 30mins in add in your coconut meat and green chilies. 5 mins before being finished add your leaves and some fish sauce.
6. For a little kick I like making a quick sauce, with some calamansi, fish sauce and red chillies. Pour yourself a bowl and top off with some crunchy shallots and chili oil.
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Erwan Heussaff
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