I cooked food for a special visitor yesterday. There was no specific food request so I planned to cook what I wanted to eat for lunch: Tinolang Manok (Chicken Ginger Stew). Ahh..the warmth and comfort of a hot, savory chicken stew! Tinolang manok is a classic Filipino dish wherein
the chicken, sauteed in garlic, onion and ginger, is boiled for around 45 minutes to extract the chicken flavor. Sliced green papaya (sayote or chayote can be used as substitute), malunggay and/or pepper leaves are added towards the end and cooking continues for five minutes more. I tend to put more vegetables to whatever I am cooking, deviating from the original recipe. So my tinolang manok appeared to have more green leafy vegetables (malunggay and pepper leaves) than chicken that is supposedly the “star”of the dish.
I also prepared my other favorite: Sotanghon (Vermicelli) Guisado. There were a lot of vegetables and just little meat. I was able to share it to my other friends as well and they all liked it!
I did not like eating vegetables when I was a kid until my growing up years. For reasons I do not even know, I just suddenly looked for the taste of vegetables while I was in college. Maybe that was a signal my body was telling that I lacked essential nutrients. Getting to like eating vegetables may perhaps be a part of growing old, eh? I’m thankful that I can now eat vegetables with gusto. I believe that the human body is designed to consume plants rather than meat.
I’m not an expert in cooking. In fact, I learned to cook on my own and that includes efficient shopping of ingredients, when I was already 23. But somehow my creative mind plus a little application of chemistry among the ingredients guide me in making the dishes I prepare palatable.