He ain’t heavy, he’s my Brother!

16 03 2010

My Chicken Tinola for birthday boy Brother!

MARCH 13, Saturday, marked the birthday of one of my best friends – Brother.  Prior to his current assignment that has brought him to his own Roamin’ Holiday in the island of Sicily in Italy, we haven’t had the chance to really catch up.  I’ve been teasing him that we’ve been moving in very different circles lately.  And unfortunately, I haven’t developed the fortitude to endure long DOTA all-nighters.  But that doesn’t – and won’t ever – mean that we could be any less best friends than we’ve been these past almost 14 years.  After all, he did promise to get me a wristwatch on whose face, dial and bezel have shone the Italian Riviera sun.

To sort of celebrate Brother’s birthday here at home, I whipped up one of my own specialties – the one that has been his consistent favorite.  In the year-and-a-half that we spent together working at Intel Corporation in Folsom in Sacramento, California, Brother and all my other best friends got to savor some of my own favorite Filipino dishes.  As for birthday boy Brother, he has always sworn by my “Chicken Tinola” – tender bone-in pieces of young chicken in a broth flavored with ginger and chili leaves.  In the States, anywhere from spinach to leeks took the place of the chili leaves.

The mirepoix – the yummy trinity of onions, carrots and celery! This is the secret to the best home-made chicken stock.


Putting everything in the pot! Perfect chicken broth is just water and about a couple of hours away! I use this broth for my chicken tinola, chicken macaroni soup (sopas!), and my own chicken mami!

The secret to my chicken tinola is the broth that I make ahead of time, following my own recipe that calls for the mirepoix – the very French combination of onions, carrots, and celery.  Whenever I don’t have celery, I would use some other “celery aromatic” like the local “kinchay.”  I throw the mirepoix to the pot of chicken, add a couple of halved heads of garlic, and whenever available, turnips that I’d quarter.  I pour water just enough to cover everything in the pot.  I bring this to a raging boil and will allow it to simmer for at least 45 minutes to at most a couple of hours.  As needed, I add in more water.  I skim off the foam and fat that rise to the top and the broth is ready to be used.  It freezes perfectly well for weeks.

The broth has come to a vigorous boil! As I have said, in place of celery, a "celery aromatic" like the local "kinchay" will do, as is the case with this batch of chicken broth!

To make the actual chicken tinola, I sauté lots of ginger (cut into matchstick sizes), crushed garlic (cloves from one head), and sliced onions.  I add the chicken – skin side first – and allow this to sear or even brown a little bit.  I add about a cup of my chicken broth and a tablespoon of fish sauce, allowing the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken becomes tender – without drying up, so adding a little more liquid every now and then is key.  After that, I pour in as much broth as I want.  Once the whole thing comes to a vigorous boil, I simmer it for at least 15 more minutes.  Then I add slices of chayote squash.  After 5 minutes, I put in bunches of chili tops.  It is now ready to serve with lots of piping-hot steamed white rice.

Brother, this chicken tinola is in your honor!  I know you miss my cooking.  Hahaha!

Brother, it's ready to be served!


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.




One response

12 10 2011

ok! got it! Definatly going to try it out..ill let you know how it goes 🙂


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