Explaining The Tagalog Term "Sangkutsa"

The simplest explanation is really simple. The tagalog term sangkutsa simply means “pre-cooking”. Half-cooking is also acceptable.

Sangkutsa is done by adding one to several flavorings to the main ingredients. It can be water only, or water plus salt, fish sauce, onions, garlic and soy sauce. The last step is boiling the mix until half done. The boiling time varies depending on commodity.

There are three reasons why do sangkutsa or isangkutsa. The first one is to remove unwanted food components or a possible toxin and unwanted flavor. The not so popular example is the “kabuting saging”. It is a mushroom that grows only on decaying banana corms. According to my elders, its flavor is undesirable when not pre-cooked.

The next reason is to soften the main ingredient before the flavorings are added. The technique is usually applied to native chicken hen. Pre-cooking such is a long process but pressure cooker shortens the time significantly. Cooking a broiler chicken instead removes the need for pre-cooking procedures.

The last reason is extension of products shelf life for few hours to a day. A dressed chicken bought in the morning might be spoiled already by afternoon but not when pre-cooked. Full cooking it in the afternoon further extend the storage life by the next morning. The affordability of refrigerators voids the need for this method.



  • To add to my comment above, sangkutsa/sangkutcha (braising) is a 2-step process: after flash frying OR charring/searing the ingredient, it is then placed in a pot or pan and added with a liquid ingredient (water or broth) and covered to FINISH cooking in the oven. It is NOT called sangkutsa/sangkutcha (braising) if the 2nd process is not followed. Thanks.

  • Sankutsa or sangkutcha is not only a Tagalog term. It is also a term used in other parts of the Philippines (like in Bicol). Easily in Culinary Arts term it is “braising” (from the French word ‘braise’ [braze] ).

    There are 2 kinds of braising an ingredient: (1) flash frying using hot oil or (2) charring (char), searing and blackening it under direct heat (grill, etc..)

    • Thanks. It is an eye opener

  • […] the chicken is ready, take out the chicken pieces and pan fry (or sangkutsa) over medium low heat until cooked. You can add a teaspoon of oil if you want to be sure that it […]

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