Our EIC Finds Out if Vintage Maya Kitchen Recipes Still Hold Up Today

November 16, 2019

When we talk about Filipino cookbooks, a handful of names an titles come to mind. People grew up with Nora Daza, or maybe Recipes of the Philippines by David Perez. But you’re probably most familiar with the books published by Maya Kitchen, which still publishes recipe anthologies to this day. Intrigued by the prospect of cooking from one of the most popular Filipino cooking bibles of all time, our EIC, Meya Cortez, tried to tackle one from The New Filipino Cookbook: Creative Variations of Traditional Recipes by The Maya Kitchen, published decades ago.

She had a few questions that she wanted answered: do these creative, modern versions of traditional recipes still feel “modern” in 2019? How would the ingredients and instructions of an old recipe hold up to this day?

Our EIC may be smiling in this photo, but she’s dying inside.

She went for something that seemed fairly simple, a recipe called Asopao de Pollo that was basically a one-pot dish that was touted by the cookbook as a Portuguese-Filipino version of paella or arroz valenciana. What could go wrong? Apparently, quite a few things. First, there was no time or serving indicated in the recipe, and a closer look at the rest of the instructions showed that most of it was according to look, feel, or basically, the instinct of a cook. If you were a beginner attempting this, you’d be lost; for example, one of the directions simply said “Cook until done.” How done??? Done to what??? It’s pretty difficult to tell.

Looks great even when uncooked.

The easy prep seemed to be a good indication of the dish.

Asopao de Pollo

From The New Filipino Cookbook: Creative Variations of Traditional Recipes by The Maya Kitchen

  • Serves: Not specified
  • Active time: Not specified
  • Total time: Not specified
  • Difficulty: Easy


Asopao de Pollo

  • 1 kilo chicken, cut into serving portions
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 200 grams bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green olives
  • 1 cup cubed cooked ham
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 teaspoon paprika Bilbao
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • green olives for garnishing


  1. Season the chicken with oregano, half of the garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Set aside.
  3. In a skillet, brown the bacon then set aside. Let cool then crumble.
  4. In the bacon fat, brown the chicken pieces then transfer to a plate.
  5. In the same skillet, saute the remaining garlic, onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives and ham. Cook until done.
  6. In a saucepan, put the rice with enough water to cook it.
  7. When half-done, add the chicken, crumbled bacon, sauteed mixture, peas, and paprika. Season to taste.
  8. Cook until rice is completely tender, but not mushy.
  9. Before serving, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garnish with olives.
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