Tinolang Manok – dish is cooked with chicken, green papaya, ginger, chili and malungay
Tinola in Tagalog or Visayan, or la uya in Ilocano is a soup-based dish served as an appetizer or main entrée in the Philippines. The exact origins of Tinola is obscure. One of the earliest mentions of the dish is in José Rizal’s first novel, Noli Me Tangere, where Kapitan Tiago served it to Crisostomo Ibarra upon arriving from Europe. He was given the breast, to the dismay of the corrupt Spanish friar, Padre Damaso, who got chicken neck, which is considered to be the least favored chicken part.
Traditionally, this dish is cooked with chicken, wedges of green papaya, and leaves of the siling labuyo chili pepper in broth flavored with ginger, onions and fish sauce. A common variant substitutes fish or pork for chicken, chayote or sayote (in Tagalog) instead of papaya, or with tomatoes and moringa leaves known as marungay or malunggay or kamunggay (in Cebuano), instead of pepper leaves. However, an all-vegetable broth in Cebu with kamunggay in prominence is called utan kamunggay or utan bisayâ, while it is called law-oy in Mindanao and laswa in Hiligaynon. Another variation is Tinolang Tahong, a soup made with mussels, ginger, onion, garlic and bird’s eye chili. The usage of sayote or papaya is heavily debated among Filipino scholars.
The secret in making a good chicken tinola is to simmer the chicken for longer periods of time. This will let all the flavor of the chicken come out and it also makes the chicken tender. You can also use malunggay leaves instead of pepper leaves (or even both) to maximize the health benefits. Aside from using healthy malunggay and other veggies, using lots of ginger can also be a good idea for health purposes. It will also enhance the flavor of the soup.
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