Turkey Filipino Giniling Recipe

If you want a homecooked dish or “ulam” that even non-Filipinos would enjoy, try making giniling! 

Two years into living here in the UK, and it still hasn’t changed how much I miss the Philippines. In fact, I think I’ve been missing it more – I’ve been craving Filipino food more often. I guess distance does, in fact, make the heart (and the taste buds) grow fonder. While I am enjoying cooking and experimenting with ingredients and recipes here in London, I have really been pining for that garlicky, spicy, sweet, and salty taste of home. I could kill for a Jollibee spicy chickenjoy right now. If you’re wondering what a Jollibee chickenjoy is,  Anthony Bourdain has a great video of it which I shared below.

Culinary Compromise

The problem is, the distinct and exaggerated flavours of Filipino food is something that not a lot of British people, ie. my husband, could handle on a regular basis. For one, he can’t take Jollibee and sweet spaghetti or chicken joy. He’s not a big fan of the overly salty adobo, or the peanuty goodness of kare-kare. Moping about it won’t help, so I just have to meet him halfway and adjust some Filipino dishes to suit both our tastes. Marriage is about compromise! 

This is the great thing about Filipino food. Filipino food is the original fusion food. Our dishes are the combination of the many colonisers and their respective cultures, and as such it lends itself to creativity – you can have one dish 1000000 ways, but any Filipino would taste one and know what it is. The unfortunate side to this is that it now strives to find its traditional identity. There aren’t many dishes that are unique to the Philippines that the country could distinctly call original, but this isn’t such a bad thing. Filipinos do what they do best – they adapt and flourish and create something that they can proudly call their own 

Filipino Giniling

Giniling is one such dish, a distant cousin of the more famously known cuban picadillo. Picadillo, meaning “minced” in Spanish, is a dish passed on to us by our Spanish colonisers and one that every Filipino has grown up with. Its homecooked version is a bit soupy and mixed with garlic and chayote, a humble and comforting dish. In feasts, it is served with diced carrot and potatoes in a spicy tomato coating – it sometimes even comes with raisins, giving it a more vibrant and complex flavour. What did I say? Filipino food is synonymous with fusion food. We can’t even agree on how to cook our own dishes! But trust me, they are all delicious. 



Anyway, I was really missing home so I made giniling last week. Andrew and I have been trying to be more mindful of what we eat, so I’ve decided to play around with my mom’s Giniling recipe and used turkey instead of minced pork. The result was just as delicious but less greasy. Served on top of hot white rice, and with a separate dish of fish sauce and crushed chillis, it was comfort food the way I know it, and Andrew enjoyed it just as much! 


Turkey Filipino Giniling

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Turkey Filipino Giniling

This is Giniling - a Filipino version of the cuban picadillo, and a popular homecooked meal. I made this one with minced turkey instead of pork, and served it with piping hot short grained white rice and steamed green beans. Garlicky, tomatoey, spicy, meaty goodness.


  • 450g lean minced turkey
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • tomato paste
  • 1 beef broth cube
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • dash of tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 lime
  • optional: 1/2 cup raisins and 1 minched chili


  1. Season the minced turkey with salt and pepper
  2. Heat the oil and sautee the garlic and onion.
  3. Once it's caramelised, add in the minced turkey, fish sauce, tomato paste, and broth cube. Sautee a bit and then over with just enough water to create a thick sauce. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes and carrots. Cook for 7 mins, or until soft.
  5. Add in green peas, lime juice, and dash of tabasco sauce. If adding raisins and chillies, this is the time to add them in as well. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve hot over steaming white rice.
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