Friday, July 15, 2005


Not for people with weak hearts.

Ever heard of pinikpikan? This is one of the most exotic food of the people from the highland provinces of the Philippines. Sometimes we call it the "killing-me-softly" recipe because of the way this is prepped before being cooked.

We recently attended a canao, an igorot celebration and I took home some leftovers. We don't get this very often but it was something that me and my husband has learnt to have since we both worked in the mining industry back in the Philippines. The following may not exactly be the way the Igorots do it but this is my son's instructions the way my son saw the guys prepared it.

Put one wing of a chicken on a flat surface. Hold the head, one wing, and the legs in the one hand. Using a club softly beat the other wing from the inside. Beat it so it does not break the bones. Beat the wing from the inside to the tip, and then back again. You must do this twice. Repeat for the other wing. After beating the wings, lay the head of the chicken, on the flat surface, facing one way. Beat the neck from the top to the bottom. You may probably wonder why the chicken has to be beaten. The reason to beat the chicken is to make the blood coagulate on the wings and on the neck. The wings get thick and look big when cooked. It is said that it tastes better as well. Another reason is when the blood coagulates, you then have to butcher the chicken, and blood does not drip as much. If done right, there would be very little blood dripping to the ground.

Now you must kill the chicken. To kill the chicken, hold the chicken firmly by the feet and wings in one hand. Use a club to hit the back of its head, just below the comb. Not too hard, or the chicken will bleed. One blow should do it. Use a torch or fire, burn the feathers off. Keep burning the chicken until it starts to look a little bit burnt. Don't worry, the burnt look is only at the surface because it was only the feathers that got burnt.

Once the feathers are burnt off remove the remaining feathers. Use tweezers if necessary to remove the roots of the feathers. My dad is not an Igorot that's why he does that, but the real Igorots don't bother removing them anymore. Clean the inside of the chicken and then cut the chicken into medium sized pieces and put them into a pot. Add etag if you have any. Cook on high heat until meat is tender. When the chicken is done, add chayote or any vegetables of your choice into the pot. Add salt and remove the pot from the heat. Keep covered. Leave for four minutes minutes. Stir the soup and enjoy.

** To make etag, get a side of bacon and slice it into squares about an inch long. Dredge the meat in coarse salt and put in a ceramic bowl. Cover it and let it dry in open air for about 3 days. Keep in a dry container for about 3-5 weeks.**
You see, back when I was a child, it was explained to me by my father that the Igorots do not use seasonings other than salt. They believe so much that meat is better when seasoned only with salt and chilies.


ladycharlie said...

oh my! i remember we tried to make pinikpikan when we went to la union. it was delicious but i couldn't bear to watch the poor chicken get beaten up!

stefoodie said...

wow, what an educational post! thanks for sharing. have you seen marketman's recent post about this as well?

JMom said...

I've always identified this dish as pulutan, for my dad and his drinking buddies. This is really educational; for the longest time, I didn't know the rationale for the process. I've always thought it a cruel way way to butcher fowl, and I thought them drunks were just being sadistic :-) Now I know better. I can't say I remember what this tastes like though. How was the flavor?

ting-aling said...

ladycharlie, I hope that did not put you off. it is an acquired taste.

stef, thanks. no, i did not read marketman's pero i will try to look for it.

you know jmom, it's depending on who's having it. it's good but as I've said, it's an acquired taste for most. yes, it is cruelty to animals, precisely the reason why when you buy the live chicken here, the vendor will torch it for you but will not allow you to beat the chicken. still, it's amazing how other people still find a way to do it somehow.

funny how my son described it. i left it unedited so that we will have something to go back to one day. (lol). I should state here that he is 15 when he wrote this.

dexiejane said...

ooh i know this :) one time i was in Baguio, i watch my Ninang's roomates do this to a chicken. it was very interesting. i never had a chance to taste it tho coz it was getting late and i had to go home.. sayang..

schatzli said...

read market man somebody made a comment while beating the chicken do it with Michael Jackson BEAT IT.

ate ting... i asked the ilocanos and the ethnic (this is the term they use for people from Ifugao region- not really a demeaning word) if some of them cook this here in athens.

oo daw
sabi pa ng isa sa akin..
sha kita mo yong buhay na manok sa palengke?
see they make pinikpikan here. so am going to ask around who will cook this for me....

ting-aling said...

Dexie, ah yuou missed a lot then.

Sha, unfortunately, cruelty nga talaga to animals the way they kill the chicken. Pero masarap. Depende rin sa nagluto pala.

Karen said...

I love this entry with cultural notes! However, I'd differ from calling it cruelty to animals. I agree with those who define 'cruelty' as that with just an intent to make the poor fowl suffer for no apparent reason either than to power trip. It would be different if it's for a specific purpose, such as that you mentioned.

Come to think of it, we also gently beat (pikpik) the neck of chickens before they're slit and the blood then drops on a waiting bowl. Haven't done that for at least a decade!

Galing Ting!

cathcath said...

masyadong brutal parang gusto kong itranslate sa tagalog. mwehehe

stupidity all over said...

You people are officially disgusting and fucked up sadists.

Hope you'll rot in hell having someone beating you up and making sure all your capillaries burst. Sure, you'll taste lovely once it's done!

Vincent said...

It's not cruelty in fact the beating will make the chicken numb and eventually not feel a thing

Unknown said...

the pikpik is not meant to torture the has a ritualistic significance in that because the chicken is used as a sacrifice it has to be beaten for it to make a sound so that it will "attract" the ancestors and the anitos to whom it is offered to...the smoke and the smell of the burning feathers as it is rising upwards is meant to appease the ancestors and Kabunian so that they will give good fortune as will be revealed in the reading of the position of the bile with the liver...