I went to the neighborhood grocer today to get some inspiration on what to cook. At the vegetable section, I saw packs of tamarind leaves and there I had my eureka moment. I knew I had to take advantage of the precious find and make Sinampalukang Manok for dinner. It's easy to find sampalok leaves in the provinces; at least one household in every street nurtures a Sampalok tree in their backyard. But in urban Manila, it's certainly not the case. So it's best to take advantage of the ingredient whenever it's available.
Sinampalukang Manok is actually easier to make than, say, sinigang na baboy or hipon, since there is no other ingredient to the dish than the sampalok leaves and the chicken, well, aside from the usual aromatics. So, if you'd like to conserve on energy, Sinampalukang Manok is a great option; plus, it's a real comfort dish.
Saute a sliced onion and three (3) cloves of garlic in tthree (3) tablespoons of oil. Add a whole piece of chicken that's been cut into pieces. After a few minutes, add eight (8) cups of water, a pack of sinigang mix and one (1) chicken bouillon cube. Simmer till almost done. Add the sampalok leaves and simmer for another five miutes.