Food Corner: Popular Filipino Food 03
Tinola; The Healing Broth
Whenever I feel a bit sick, I often lose my appetite,too. And due to the lack of nutrition, my slight condition worsens. My mom is aware of this so every time I was under the weather, she used to cook something special for me; something that whets my appetite and easy to eat,too. It is her special dish tinola, a chicken soup dish. The dish has a milder taste as compared to the usual stronger flavors of Filipino food. Tinola is makes you feel warm and cozy. So whenever I cook or eat this dish, it makes me feel kind of nostalgic. It reminds me of those days when my mom used to take care of me and she showed her love through her cooking. Now, my kids probably feel the same way as I do.
Tinola is a dish that involves cooking chicken in ginger broth. The soup is thin and smooth. It is usually added with unripe papaya and malunggay (Moringa Oleifera) or chili/pepper leaves,hence, it is a good source of nutrition.In the absence of unripe papaya, chayote (Sechium edule) is used and in fact, it is now more common nowadays. And for the starchy soup, rice washing is used instead of plain water. Rice washing is when you cook rice, you need to wash it first so you set aside the water you use for the second washing. Tinola is usually served to breastfeeding moms and people who are feeling sick because the broth is appetizing and healthy.
(Photos from left to right: unripe/green papaya, chili/pepper leaves, chayote and malunggay leaves, other ingredients)
The secret of the a good tinola is simmering the chicken for longer periods of time to extract the flavors and make the chicken tender as well. It is best served with steaming white rice. Cooking the dish is straightforward and easy so it is usually recommended to beginners.
So in case you are mulling over the next dish to cook, try this easy-to-prepare Filipino delight. Here we go!
CHICKEN TINOLA RECIPE
- 1 whole chicken cut into serving pieces
- 36 ounces rice washing or just water
- 1/2 piece green papaya/chayote cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 piece onion chopped
- 1 thumb ginger cut into strips
- 1 cup Hot pepper leaves
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce or salt as alternative
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Sauté the garlic, onion, and ginger
- Put-in the chicken and cook until color turns light brown
- Add the fish sauce. Stir. Pour rice washing/water into the cooking pot. Let boil. Cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes. Note: add water if needed.Also, if fish sauce is not available, season with salt.
- Add green papaya/chayote. Cook for 5 minutes
- Add the hot pepper leaves or malunggay leaves. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Season with ground black pepper. Note you can also add fish sauce or salt if needed.
I personally add a teaspoon of sugar to balance the taste but is it optional. Now, you are ready to serve a really hot and steamy soup! Enjoy!