My family and friends are surprised that my husband, Dave likes Filipino food. It started when he caught a bad case of the flu. Of course, I did the routine, — Vicks for the nose, chest, back, feet, and made salabat for him. I also cooked Tinola soup and gave him a lecture on the healing qualities of ginger.
At first, he looked at the Tinola suspiciously. Understandable, for a Midwestern all American guy who will eat our food for the first time.
And so, I did one of the best sales pitch of my life. I told him that Tinola is the favorite food of Manny Pacquiao. It worked! “Pacquiao Soup” became Dave’s most requested soup during winter or when he’s not feeling well. He likes a lot of ginger and lots of soup. Dave eats his Tinola with rice or just by itself.
HEALTHY (NO OIL) TINOLA RECIPE
- Chicken thighs
- Spinach or Bok Choy (pechay)
- Chopped onions
- Minced garlic
- In hot skillet place chicken thighs, skin side down. The chicken will release it’s own oil (or render). Note: Skillet should be hot enough, cold skillet will not allow the chicken fat to render.
- Season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until skin is crisp. Flip chicken and cook the other side until golden brown – but the meat should not be fully cooked through or it might turn tough.
- Add onions, ginger and garlic and cook with chicken’s own oil. No need to add oil. (Note: if using fresh garlic, add it last. Fresh garlic burns easily. I hardly use fresh garlic.)
- Add water and let boil to cook chicken well. When it boils, this is the time to add sayote or green papaya. Lower heat to simmer for better flavor. (Use store bought organic chicken stock if available).
- Add leafy veggies and turn off immediately because it wilts too much.
TINOLA became Dave’s comfort food. Until he met adobo, mechado, lechon kawali, nilagang baka and his second favorite, sinigang na baboy.