Friday, August 4, 2023

Mealtime Magic - Pinaupong Manok from Every Ounce of Cour\

Recipe reprinted with permission of and Every Ounce of Courage
Pinaupong Manok

Pinaupong Manok (say ‘pi-na-ooh-pong ma-nok’) in Tagalog simply means the chicken sitting in salt. And that’s how simple it is to cook. Merely make the chicken sit on a deep bed of rock salt, cover and cook. Dinner will be ready before you know it. This is a classic Filipino dish with the whole roasting chicken and salt as the staple ingredients. I’ve always admired its simplicity, which surprisingly yields a tasty, savory flavor. Back in the Philippines, the grandmas, old aunts and expert cooks from our older generations always recommended we used organic, free-range chickens cooked in a clay pot for this recipe. If you don’t have a clay pot, a heavy-duty roasting pan will work just as well.
 Servings: 4
1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 to 6 cups + 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
4 scallion stalks, white and greens parts separated; chop the green parts for garnish
Steamed rice
For the dipping sauce:
¼ cup soy sauce
Juice of 1 whole lemon
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
In a medium bowl, combine the dry rub: garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Rub the seasoning blend all over the chicken.
Stuff the chicken with the onions and scallion whites.
Pour 5 to 6 cups of salt in a 9x13-inch roasting or other pan large enough to fit the whole chicken. Level off the salt to make a flat, even bed about ½-inch thick.
Place the chicken, breast side up, on top of the bed of salt.
Cover the pan tightly with foil. Roast the chicken for 2 hours and 40 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven and carve into serving pieces. Discard the salt bed.
Garnish the carved chicken with the chopped scallion greens.
Serve warm with steamed rice and a dipping sauce of soy sauce combined with lemon juice.

Note: To check if the chicken is cooked, pierce or make a small cut in the thickest part of the thigh. The meat should not be red or pink and the juices should run clear. If the meat is still pink, return the chicken to the oven and cover loosely with foil. Roast for 5-minute intervals at 375°F, till the meat is cooked. If using a thermometer to check if the chicken is cooked, the internal temperature should read at least 75°C/167°F.

 One night Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino received a phone call from a stranger that changed her life.  “You don’t know me, but your mother saved my life,” the caller said. That late-night conversation with an American World War II veteran and POW revealed to Elizabeth Ann Besa Quirino the untold stories of her mother’s remarkable wartime heroism in the Philippines and sparked a twenty-year journey of discovery about her mother’s lifelong acts of bravery and compassion. The result is Every Ounce of Courage, Elizabeth Ann’s tribute to her mother’s amazing life.

Elizabeth Ann delved into a trove of old letters, photographs and recipes in search of the source of her mother’s courageous spirit.  The result is a story of courage and family and life in the Philippines through the prism of generational family recipes.
Lourdes “Lulu” Reyes Besa channeled the heartbreak of a childhood tragedy into a profound sense of compassion and service. She helped raise three brothers while still a child herself in the early years of the 20th century. Then, as a young socialite in the heydays of 1930’s Manila, she focused on meaningful philanthropy and charity work.
During the merciless Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Lulu embarked unflinchingly on dangerous missions to bring aid and comfort that meant the difference between life and death to countless Filipino and American prisoners of war, at great peril to her own life.  In 1947, President Harry Truman awarded Lulu two Medals of Freedom, becoming the first Filipino woman and civilian to be so honored for her valiant efforts.
Food played a large part in Elizabeth’s family.  She weaves her family’s story along with descriptions of Filipino food family recipes. Some of the recipes Elizabeth features at the end of the book include: 
  • Ensaymadas
  • Pancit Molo Soup
  • Chicken and Pork Adobo
  • Beef Morcon
  • Mom’s Shrimp Toast
  • Arroz a la Valenciana
  • Tibok-Tibok
  • Ginataang Bilo-Bilo
In her mother’s story, Elizabeth discovered a complex life full of joy, sorrow, selflessness, and survival, and learned precious lessons about how the timeless bonds of family, the steadfast strength of faith and the power of an indomitable will can provide solace and sense in a world of uncertainty.
Every Ounce of Courage is a daughter’s story of her mother’s courage, brave struggles, and humanity in the bleakest of circumstances.
“This book is as warm and comforting as a home-cooked meal at a family table.  I savored every intimate morsel of these well-told and beautiful stories. – Ben Montgomery, author of New York Times best-selling Grandma Gatewood’s Walk

About the author:
Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino is an author and award-winning journalist, born and raised in the Philippines, and based in New Jersey, USA. She has written three cookbooks on classic Filipino food from her mother’s recipes. She is a contributor and recipe developer for, a digital food magazine; a correspondent for Positively Filipino magazine, and has written features on Philippine cuisine, culture, history. Read more of her stories and recipes on

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