What Is Dish?: Afritada, Kaldereta, Menudo, Mechado, or Pochero

July 25, 2019

We all saw that tweet about our favorite orange-colored Filipino food. Now let’s get something straight: nobody really knows the difference between afritada, kaldereta, menudo, mechado, or pochero. Unless, of course, you’re a chef, food historian, or someone who’s used to cooking these. Or you just did the post-viral trend research—that’s cheating.

So we had to ask, “Does our very own Pepper chef know the difference?” We put Kimmie to the test in our new series “What Is Dish?” We picked a dish for her to make and, without telling her what it was, she had to make it. On this episode, we had her make chicken afritada, a dish that dates back to the colonial era. It’s name is derived from the Spanish word “fritada” (fried), emphasizing the step of pan-frying the chicken and aromatics before stewing it in tomato sauce.

So THAT’s afritada.

*Spoiler alert!* Although Kimmie got the dish right, she didn’t prepare it exactly the way she was supposed to (based on the traditional method). Instead, she made it the way she’d usually do it, reminding us that everyone has their own way of cooking afritada. Her self-proclaimed “lazy” method involves stewing everything in one pot. And we have to admit—anything that requires the least amount of dishes to be washed is ingenious.

Lazy Chicken Afritada

  • Serves: 4-6 people
  • Active time: 20 mins.
  • Total time: 1 hr
  • Difficulty: Easy


  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 6 chicken drumsticks


  1. In a pot over medium heat, add oil and sauté garlic and onion until softened.
  2. Add carrots and potatoes to the pan and cook until beginning to color, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add water and tomato sauce and stir to combine.
  4. Add the bay leaves and season with salt, pepper, and sugar, stirring until well combined.
  5. Add the bouillon cube and incorporate until dissolved.
  6. Add drumsticks to the pot in an even layer, nestling in between the vegetables and submerging in the sauce.
  7. Cover pot partially and let chicken cook until tender and fully cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  8. Remove lid and increase heat to medium high.
  9. Cook afritada until sauce is reduced and thickened by about half, about 10 more minutes.
  10. Serve hot.​
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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