Add This Seafood Binakol to Your Roster of Back-Pocket Filipino Recipes

January 25, 2020

Binakol is a chicken soup from Western Visayas, specifically Iloilo and Aklan. It’s name is believed to come from the Kinaray-a term for cooking in bamboo tubes; although, some accounts say it’s from the Hiligaynon word “bakol” (to spank), which refers to how the meat used is spanked prior to cooking for more flavor. It’s a testament to the culinary creativity of Filipinos; the dish being traditionally cooked in bamboo tubes, or inside half coconut husks. It’s similar to tinola; but it uses coconut water for the broth, giving it a distinct sweetness.

No need to “bakol” the vegetables.

Binakol recipes usually use native chicken for its meat (especially the Batangas version). But in our version, we swap it out for seafood to balance out the refreshing broth. What you get is a light, subtly sweet soup, paired with a sort of earthy depth. No pressure to cook this in bamboo or coconuts—though it’d be arguably better if you could.

Seafood Binakol

  • Serves: 4 people
  • Active time: 45 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy



  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • ¼ cup ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 1-piece fish cube


  • 2 pieces sayote, cut into wedges
  • 2 cups buko flesh, cut into large pieces
  • 4 cups buko juice
  • 6-8 cups water


  • 500g squid, cleaned and cut into rounds
  • 500g shrimp, peeled


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high.
  2. Add garlic, onion, ginger, and lemongrass and cook until fragrant and onions are translucent, about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add the fish cube and break apart into the aromatics, cooking for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the sayote, buko, buko juice, and water into the pot.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Let the soup boil and cook until the sayote is tender, about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the squid and shrimp and let poach in the soup until just cooked, about 8-10 minutes.
  8. Serve soup immediately, and in hollowed out coconuts if desired.
Jica Simpas Jica Simpas

Jica hopes that by writing about food she'll actually learn how to cook. But for now, she'll happily just eat everything—especially cookies.

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