Tinola, The Ultimate Chicken – Ginger Love Story

Chicken Ginger Stew or Tinolang Manok best describes every Pinoy Mom’s cooking – warm and full of love! A must during the rainy season, it would seem that this has been embedded in our DNAs as our bodies automatically crave for this bowlful of heaven. Gat Jose Rizal and our modern day gladiator Manny Pacquiao will attest how good this dish is.  

 

Every Pinoy knows how to do it, and no matter how advanced things may get or how ground-breaking the food industry becomes, this dish will always be part of our culture/identity and our lives. Simple yet delicious.

 

So let me share with you one of the versions I have learned from La Union which uses Bagoong Isda (fish paste sauce) instead of fish sauce. Done correctly, the fish paste sauce will give the broth a deeper profile and the umami from the fermentation will surely give it a funky character. Also, I wanted to incorporate one practice that I believe is slowly drifting to oblivion as far as Filipino cooking is concerned – the use of “hugas bigas”. My dad taught me this “technique”, saying that it is a must if you want your broth to have more body. Now I use “hugas bigas” to virtually everything – even my coffee and tea.

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The First Crack: Crispy Chicken Skin

 

Crispy Chicken Skin

 

Please bear with the lighting and the quality of my video and/or photos. I’m just trying out this D.I.Y. photobox and lights using only my phone’s camera. But anyway, I figured I’d make gaya (using that conio accent) of the people who are doing #instagramyourulam kinda thing and finally share the recipes of the things I’m working on and the food I actually eat. I’m also working (I deliberately used the term to sound as if I’m really pouring my heart and soul into this when in fact I ‘aint got no clue how to go about it) on a book project but the ideas are all over the place. So while my plan is no where near from being achieved, I’d settle for shamelessly making my own hashtag (#jrroyolrecipes and #bigorots) and promote whatever I can.

 

As for my first post, let me share today’s merienda – Crispy Chicken Skin. I figured this would be the ideal “First” as this is the perfect appetizer, pulutan or ulam. Also, please note that this is as basic as it can get for I only used 3 ingredients. Though most of the time, I toss in some Garam Masala or Curry, paprika and cayenne for that added kick. I didn’t include the sawsawan as this depends on your preference. From pinakurat, catsup, sweet chilli sauce or whatever floats your boat – GO!

 

Very simple and AFFORDABLE:

 

Yield: If you can manage peace and order while serving this, this should be enough for at least 3 bellies.

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Visiting CDO and Bukidnon

It was during the Masterchef elimination round that would determine who would make it to the top 15 (later became top 16) roster when I met a very bubbly tandem. As the pressure of the inevitable engulfed the entire room, the Bukidnon-born sisters stood out as the two remaining souls who were really excited on what’s forthcoming. I admired their genuine smile amidst a nerve wracking task, how they cheered everybody to be positive and wishing everybody goodluck. They were uniquely pleasant.

 

Our Batch – Battle for the White Apron

 

Ma’am Malou, or what I fondly call her – Mamalu (Important note: she is no way close to being “Ma’am or Mama for she still looks like someone from my bracket) was the one who made the cut. We were housed during the taping days so I got to know her better (and Ate Eppie as well from her stories) and somehow, the foundation of a friendship was built.

 

It was in the earlier part of the show that she had to give up her spot for she will not have a career to go back to if she continues her Masterchef journey– a career she built for more than 15 years. As any decent mother would do, she chose security over uncertainty. We all felt her pain, but she stood in front of the cameras and the Judges, apologized, and managed a weak smile as she turned for the exit.

 

In most cases, you need not to share sob stories to be “close” with someone, sometimes, you only need to share a couple of good laughs and a very good conversation to know if someone is for keeps. So going to their hometown and breathe the same air they grew up with was an easy choice and thanks to “Piso Fares”, it became a reality.

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Our Japan Gig

 

As we wait for the plane to take off, I noticed that there’s a certain pang that I cant seem to shake off. It’s as if I’m leaving behind loved ones whom I will miss dearly. I mean, you would only feel this kind of longing for people you have spent a great deal of time with. We have stayed in Kobe/Osaka for only 7 days and yet it feels like we have known the people we have worked with for decades.

 

I’ve met the worst kinds of people when I was dragging my ass in call center companies (and Yes, I also met kindred spirits there) and that’s when I became cynical or distrustful to people’s intentions. I got so fed up that I just didn’t bother to bond with colleagues thinking that it would only be a waste of effort… only to lose them in the end. Somehow, I guess I missed missing people. So to help ease it off, let me talk about the people who made our stay an experience we will cherish for the rest of our lives.

 

The Call

 

I was in a crossroad dwelling on what path to take when I got a message in my facebook page  from someone working for Department of Tourism asking for my contact details. We were skeptic at first because it all sounded too good to be true. We imagined the whole set up to be one like those junk emails we receive saying we were picked to be a winner of something – a good news out of nowhere.  But as we all know, those spams are nowhere near from being a reality.

 

Then a call came with +81 area code and it was confirmed – the invitation was legit and they were asking me to be part of a program aimed to promote Filipino cuisine to be held in Kobe. What finally sold me to the idea was this other person’s demeanor. I sensed that he was not just trying to sound nice – for some weird reason, I KNEW that he was really nice. He was very respectful, sincere and humble. He was also very consistent even in our email correspondence as we iron out the logistics and work the other details of our trip. My dealing with Vice Consul Dax  was a very pleasant one, to say the least.

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Japan! Japan! How to apply for a Visa?

 

To step on the land of the rising sun has always been part of our bucket list. There’s something magical and captivating about this place that will attract a wandering soul. Their obvious respect for nature, rich culture and ever famous cuisine (just to name a few) would leave you in a deep awe (Thanks to the PTV4 and RPN 9 shows about ASEAN Countries).

 

To a Japan-love-stricken couple, the most annoying question is ‘WHEN?’ Well, we only settled for ‘someday’ and swept the longing in a corner – making sure that it’s there but not really trashing the whole idea. Until Tay received a call from Osaka asking him if he wants to fly in to prepare Filipino dishes for the Philippine Independence Day Celebration. Tay, of course was ecstatic! Better part I guess was the fact that he can bring with him associates who will help him feed 300 folks. I did not volunteer, but Tay insisted that I go with him since we are fairly in our comfort zone having numerous caterings together. I, too, was ecstatic!

 

So now.. the most important question is ‘How to Apply for a Visa?’ Here are the steps…

 

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