Saturday, September 10, 2016

Family Favorite: Tinolang Manok

Seattle Weather™️ is back. That means it's time to bust out the rain jackets, rain boots, and soup recipes! Few things in this world bring me more happiness on a gusty, wet day than a bowl of warm soup. I'm going to share with you one of our family favorites, but first: a story. 

Before we got married, Dusty and I lived together for a couple of years in a cozy house in Fremont, CA. We had small appliances, dishes, linens, and all the other things most newlyweds would ask for in a gift registry. So on our wedding invitations, we specified: "No gifts, please. Your presence is the only thing we need." 

My mother was not having any of that business. She wanted to give me something to welcome me into the Married Lady Club, something that would ensure my success as a future matriarch. I asked her to give me her recipes to my favorite childhood dishes. I was expecting nothing more than stapled photocopies, but true to form, my mom found a really cute recipe binder and neatly typed up all the recipes on index cards. Best wedding present ever.

It even has a kickstand in the back so it can be propped up on the counter.  Bless.

One of the recipes in the binder is tinolang manok, which is Pilipino chicken soup. Manok means "chicken" in Tagalog, but I have no idea what tinola means. The "ng" at the end means it's a verb, though, so tinola is something that was done to the chicken. I have just decided it means "made it yummy".

Pilipinos eat tinolang manok with rice on the side, like the soup is the main course. Dusty likes to fill his spoon with rice and dip it into the bowl to scoop the chicken and goodies and broth. The girls like to spoon all their rice into the bowl and mix it all together before digging in. I fill my spoon with the goodies out of the bowl, scoop up a little rice and eat that, then refill the spoon with broth to sip separately. If you figure out a fourth way, please share in the comments.

This is the perfect meal for Seattle Weather™️. Make this for lunch on a rainy Sunday and have a long nap afterwards, with your belly full of yummy, soupy goodness.

Mmm... soup...

Tinolang Manok (Pilipino Chicken Soup)
Prep Time: ~30 minutes
Cook Time: ~40 minutes 
Serves 4 adults

2 lbs chicken thighs, deboned and skinned, cut into bite-size pieces
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
1 “thumb” of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 sayote*, peeled and cubed
1 lb of bok choy**, chopped
Salt to taste
Patis (fish sauce) to taste

1. Saute garlic and ginger in oil until slightly soft.
2. Add chicken pieces and saute until the juices run clear and the chicken is opaque.
3. Add just enough water to cover chicken and season with salt. Boil until chicken is tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Add sayote cubes and chopped bok choy.
5. Bring back to a boil, then turn down heat, cover the pot, and simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes, until sayote is tender but not mushy. 
6. Season with patis (and salt if needed).
7. Serve in a bowl, with rice on the side. 

*Sayote is sold in most Asian stores, usually labeled as “chayote”. In some cities (like Seattle), you can even find it at your local grocery store.
**My mom's original recipe for traditional tinolang manok calls for malunggay leaves, but they can be hard to find.