Chicken Tinola – Stewed Chicken with Ginger as Comfort Food

All cultures have dishes popularly designated as comfort food. The American list includes pizza, fries, fried chicken, spaghetti, mac and cheese, and chicken soup, while the British seem to have a decided fondness for fish and chips, trifle, and scones. Filipinos also have their own comfort foods, and one of the best loved Filipino recipes is “tinola”, a chicken stew strongly flavored with fish sauce, ginger, onions, and pepper leaves.

Tinola in the Old Days

This simple stew has a long history of honor and comfort. It is mentioned in Noli Me Tangere, an 1887 novel written by Jose Rizal, one of the heroes of the country. In the beginning of the novel, he describes one of the characters having chicken tinola, and as the honored guest of the dinner, he is served the choice parts. The tradition of setting aside choice parts of the tinola went on for centuries – until it became possible to cook this stew with as many wings or drumsticks as you wanted. [Read more…]

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