Pilipino Pantry: Chanda Poppin's Tinola
I have been carried away with Pilipino Library that I seem to have neglected the Pilipino Pantry series. Today I am excited to kick of the series again with none other than Ate Chanda Poppin's Chicken Tinola.
A large obstacle when living out of your home country is the isolation and the distance away from family. Overall I think our family has done ok with this transition for a few reasons. First, our kids have lived here in the Philippines their whole lives so they don’t even know what it’s like to live near family. Second, while we don’t have family here we have friends who are like family and we have been fortunate enough to have Ate Chanda become our kapatid. I am not sure what the turning point was when I revered Chanda as an ate but it happened gradually over time and I am filled with gratitude for her.
Chanda Poppins treats us as family and one of the most cherished ways she does this, besides her extreme patience and unconditional love for my children, is by cooking nourishing foods when we become ill. Chanda doesn’t even ask, when the sickness hits she goes to the kitchen, assesses what we have in our refrigerator and gets to work. She traditionally makes a noodle and milk soup (sopas) for Wells when he is sick and Chicken Tinola for the rest of us when feverish. When I am really down she will even dress up the meal with a beautiful bowl, cloth napkin and a serving tray. I have cried no less than two times as I looked down at that meal and felt the care of a mother through her actions. Feeling the love and nurturing that went into it, the gratitude washes over me. We may not have family but we have Ate Chanda and her Chicken Tinola.
The unique details and tricks Chanda uses in the kitchen are common place for her but mesmerizing for me. I get a kick out of her lemon grass knot every time! It's too beautiful. Not to mention, she harvested the lemon grass and malunggay from our neighbors front yard! Ha, #perksofpinas.
malunggay+lemon grass knot
ATE CHANDA'S CHICKEN TINOLA
2 chicken breasts cubed
4 cloves garlic
1 onion diced
4 tablespoons chopped ginger
one knot of lemon grass
2 cups malunggay
1 large sayote cubed
4 cups chicken broth
METHOD: Saute onion, garlic and sayote until sayote softens. add chicken, stir until cooked. place lemon grass and ginger plus chicken broth. bring to a rolling boil for 30 minutes. turn off burner and add malunggay.
When a horrible fever recently took our kids out one by one we had a marathon fever for 10 days. Throw a few rounds of rabies shots in their for good measure. I am not sure there was anything more fulfilling to the soul than Ate Chanda's Chicken Tinola. We are so fortunate.