Fondly called “tinolang manok,” its first mention is in Jose Rizal’s first novel, Noli Me Tangere, published March 21, 1887. Jose Rizal was the Philippines’s national hero against the Spaniards. On the novel, Kapitan Tiago serve Tinolang Manok to Crisostomo Ibarra upon his arrival from Europe and he was given the breast to the dismay of the corrupt Spanish friar, Padre Damaso who got the least favored part of the chicken, the neck.
This dish is an all time favorite both in our country and abroad because of the easy accessibility of the very few ingredients. Usually stewed with green papaya or chayote and green Chili pepper leaves or spinach. Let’s start gathering our ingredients and start cooking.
2-3 lbs. cut bony parts of an organic chicken
2 inch fresh ginger (slice into thin matchbox)
3 Chayote or small green papaya (peeled and cut into bite-sized squares soaked in water)
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 red onion (sliced)
1 red sweet pepper (sliced) add for color
freshy cracked peppercorn via peppermill
1 Tbsp. fishs sauce
1 Tbsp. avocado oil
8 cups of filtered water
Here’s how most of your ingredients look like:
1. Wash and drain chicken and rub with coarse sea salt then leave draining on a colander.
2. Pour 1 tablespoon of an avocado oil in deep frying pan, wait till the oil sizzles before adding the very thinly sliced ginger. Add the crushed garlic until slightly brown then add the onion and the sliced red pepper till fragrant and translucent for one minute.
3. Add the chicken parts and the fish sauce, cover and turn the fire to a low simmer for 2 minutes until one side turn brown before stirring and turning the other uncooked side approximately another 2 minutes until you no longer see any red coloration on the chicken.
4. When all the chicken parts are looking like this and the juice are extracted from the chicken parts. Add the water, cover and turn up the heat on high until it boils.
5. Simmer for 10-20 minutes and check the chicken for doneness by pricking the fork into the meat. Then add the chayote.
6. Once the chayote is already in the pan, crack some peppercorn via a peppermill and count 10 minutes then add the spinach and turn off the stove and put back the cover, the steam will immediately cook the spinach. Some people add a long green chili but I already added the sliced red sweet pepper both for a subtle spicy flavor and a hint of red color.
Serve immediately while still piping hot, very good for people under the weather and a good hot soupy chicken dish during this start of spring as it is still very cold.
As always, try to cook and enjoy this dish.