As one of the Philippines’ more popular and regularly served ulams, you’d think that tinolang manok, similar to sinigang and lumpiang shanghai, has cemented its place in the hearts of Filipinos, right? Turns out that for many, it has not. Last March 2021, a debate started on Twitter between tinola haters and lovers—and it continues to this day.
Dubbed Tinola Slander, the discussion has since branched out to various social media platforms, with popular meme accounts like Kabulastugan and FTTM creating Facebook and Instagram posts based off it. But between those who wish to cancel tinola and those who stan it, two challengers have finally stood their ground regarding the issue.
Celebrity chefs, Ninong Ry and Panlasang Pinoy’s Vanjo Merano have recently released separate videos showing viewers how to cook tinolang manok, all in the name of converting haters to lovers. And while Vanjo’s recipe definitely does the trick of making sure the classic dish gets a big serving of spice and flavor, Ninong Ry takes things further by offering audiences three different variations of the iconic dish: A leveled-up version of the classic recipe, Tinola Risotto, and Tinola Hainanese Rice, which, in essence, take traditional tinola flavors and combine it with signature techniques that make up the two world-renowned dishes.
Ninong Ry’s Fusion Tinola: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT99jrOTrZo
Not one to hold back when it comes to food, Ninong Ry takes time to call his Kuya Vanjo to ask him for tips on cooking really tasty tinola. “Kaya lang rin naman ako tumawag kasi gusto ko malaman yung proper way nang pagluluto ng tinola. Kasi baka merong mali sa way nila o baka meron ding mali sa way ko?”
Vanjo explains, “Pagdating sa tinola, simpleng simple lang yan. Masarap naman kasi talaga ang tinola sa totoo lang, siguro basta lutuin ng tama at yung mga sangkap dapat sakto rin.”
Summarizing their discussion, Ninong Ry later explain, “Masarap naman talaga ang tinola. Isa yan sa pinaka-basic na comfort food (na) pwede nating ma-consume kapag mejo malungkot tayo, kapag mejo di maganda ang pakiramdam natin. At tinuruan din tayo ni Kuya Vanjo—ni Panlasang Pinoy (paano magluto ng masarap na tinola). Igisa ang mga aromatics kasama ang manok, timplahan ng patis, at syempre, Knorr Chicken Cubes, pare. May sarap ng isang buong manok! Kahit hindi masyadong malasa ang manok mo, kahit hindi ka gagamit ng native (chicken), magiging malasa pa rin yan sa tulong ng Knorr Chicken Cubes.”
In his classic tinola recipe, Ninong Ry seasons the chicken first with fish sauce then sears each piece of meat for added flavor and color. He uses chicken quarter leg, which according to him has more collagen content—resulting to a thicker soup. In terms of aromatics, aside from garlic, onion, and ginger, he also adds tanglad or lemon grass. Finally, he suggests that using white pepper is also a great way to give more depth to the dish without being overpowering.
Ninong Ry also mentions that in terms of vegetables, between papaya or sayote, he thinks that papaya adds a distinct yet subtle sweetness to the soup but also doesn’t see anything wrong with using the latter. Additionally, between dahon ng sili and malunggay, both Vanjo and Ninong Ry agree that chili leaves are more flavorful, but also believe that people should not discount malunggay’s nutritional value. So, for maximum effect, the two recommend using both.
Panlasang Pinoy’s Classic Tinola: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHaU-ULKcnY
Avid followers of Ninong Ry are very much familiar with his over-the-top yet well-thought-out recipes that combine Filipino authenticity with his culinary expertise. That’s why it’s not surprising that his Fusion Tinola video has already garnered more than 100,000 views and received almost 500 comments in less than 24 hours.
In both Ninong Ry and Vanjo’s videos, the famous chefs emphasized the importance of using fresh, high-quality ingredients and Knorr Chicken Cubes to ensure a truly hearty and meaty tinola. Knorr Cubes is a trusted kitchen aid that has been helping generations of moms feed their families with delicious and nutritious meals. It’s also well-loved by professionals for its ability to meati-fy any dish to make it more flavorful.