Tinolang manok, chicken stew in English, and la-uya nga manok in Ilocano, is a soup based main entrée that consists of chicken cuts as the main ingredient of course, with the addition of sayote (chayote) or green papaya and chili leaves or malunggay (moringa) whichever are available. If none of the other ingredients are available in your area, other things that resembles sayote or papaya (as long as they are tasteless) can be added. Why do we add these to the chicken anyway? These are basically “extenders” added by ingenious and frugal parents on a budget with the aim to feed their large family, of say, 10. Life is difficult in thePhilippines back then and till now, and 1 whole chicken plus extenders and a gallon of broth will ne able to feed a family of 10, twice!
The soup of the tinolang manok is full of the essence and flavor of the chicken that’s maybe the reason why papaya or sayote or moringa are chosen as “extenders as they compliment the chicken since they have no significant taste that will affect the flavor of the chicken on the broth. The natural flavor of the chicken is also enhanced by the spices used like ginger, garlic, onions, and peppercorns.
Here is the recipe of tinolang manok. Chili leaves are not available here in Singapore but malunggay leaves are and you can buy them at Mustafa or at Tekka wet market.
Chicken cuts- 500 g.
Sayote, sliced into wedges – 1 pc.
Malunggay (moringa) leaves – 1 bundle
Onion, diced – 1 bulb
Garlic, crushed- 5 cloves
Ginger, sliced and crushed -1/2 of a thumbsize
Vegetable oil- 1 tsp.
Water – 1 L
Fish sauce -1 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute garlic in oil. Add in the ginger, then the onion and stir until the spices are fragrant.
2. Add in the chicken and pan-fry it until it releases its juices. Cover the pan.
3. Add water and the seasoning. Let it boil.
4. Add the sayote and simmer until the chicken and sayote are cooked.
5. Remove from fire and add the malunggay leaves. Let it sit for a minute before serving.
The hot broth warms the body specially during rainy days.