Recipe #33: CHICKEN TALUNAN

Warning: the story of the origin of this dish is a tad nasty, but it has to be told. In case you cannot stomach such morbidity, please skip the proceeding paragraphs and go straight to the recipe below.

Okay, you’re still reading this, so I presume you have a huge appetite for adventure or probably you just don’t really care. Either way, I congratulate you for having great tolerance and unwavering courage in discovering the truth behind the everyday food that we greedily devour. Give yourself…er…a pat on the back!

Seriously, Chicken Talunan, as the name suggests, are “supposedly” fighting cocks who have lost their battles during cockfights. Talunan is a Filipino word that literally translates to defeated or in a more demeaning term — loser. In short, the chicken meat used in preparing this dish traditionally comes from cocks who are defeated or who died because of the fight. I don’t really know how cockfights are being played, (and, personally, I’m not a supporter of the game), but I presume the losing cock would go to the winner. That is when the dish Chicken Talunan was born.

That wasn’t much of an icky introduction, was it? Actually, the same term also applies to horse meat. Yes, you read that right. But that’s another story altogether which requires a separate post.

Chicken Talunan

Anyway, the meat in our Chicken Talunan recipe did not come from the battle ring (thank god!). We bought them straight from the supermarket. The way it’s normally prepared is so easy, probably because it’s meant to be a quick meal to be served immediately during victory celebration after winning the cockfight. In other words, as a pulutan.

The way Chicken Talunan is prepared is like a combination of Adobo and Paksiw, except that it has ginger (although fish paksiw also has ginger) and the chicken meat is cooked in its own fat. Fast and easy, it is almost a one-step recipe because the ingredients are dumped in all at once.

Try it out yourself at home without learning how to cockfight. I just hope you haven’t lost your appetite yet. Here’s the recipe for Chicken Talunan:


Chicken Talunan

You will need:

  • 1 kilo chicken, cut into serving sizes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cane vinegar
  • 1 garlic head, crushed and peeled
  • 2 tbps ginger, peeled, crushed, and julienned
  • 1 tspn peppercorn
  • 4 pcs bay leaf (laurel)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 tspn rock salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • a dash of MSG (vetsin)

How to prepare:

  1. In a large saucepan, place all the ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Do not stir. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes before stirring. Occasionally check if the liquid has dried up. Add more water if necessary.
  2. Usually, chicken fat accumulates as it cooks. Reduce the oil and add more seasoning, if needed.
  3. Serve with rice.

Chicken Talunan


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11 Comments

  1. Hah I didn’t know that there’s actually a name for this recipe! I didnt even expect to find this recipe because i thought it’s just an “imbento” dish since I only ever tasted it at home. My father is a sabungero and this dish takes me back to my childhood when he’d come with a dead cock and lots of pasalubong – a dead cock always meant a happy dinner for us lol! Thanks a lot for sharing!!

  2. Interesting. Your recipe. In Cavite where I am originally from, “LUTONG TALUNAN” which is otherwise known as “SAKNGKUCHA SA LUYA” is cooked without vinegar and without pepper. Basically done in the manner of cooking”TINOLA” but colored with ACHUETE. In screaming canary yellow!The chicken is sautead in tons of garlic, onions and ginger. But first, the ginger is fried first until it is toasted. You add the chili pepper towards the end. Either “SILING PUSA” or those used in “PAKSIW” or “SINIGANG.”

    Same as your overture as far as its history is concerned: cooked by the “SABUNGEROS’ wives” after an ordeal at the “SABUNGAN.” Long live the Pinoy food! Missing home.

    1. Hi Becha! Thank you for sharing. I really love reading personal stories like this because there’s so much to learn. Isn’t it interesting to have so many regional versions of a very simple dish? 🙂

  3. Naalala ko tuloy tatay ko (rip) nung isinama nya ako sa sabungan at nanalo kami, sa amin ang talunan. Malasa at masarap ang manok na ito pero medyo matigas ang laman kaya palaging adobo ang luto nito kasi pinupulutan ng mga kumpare ng tatay ko.

    I will try this recipe using native chicken kasi bago po ito sa aking panlasa.

    Maraming Salamat 🙂

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