Tinola: Chicken na May Tubig? These Recipes by Panlasang Pinoy and Ninong Ry Might Change Your Mind

Tinola tastes just like chicken in water—agree or not?

Around the same time last year, a conversation emerged online about the classic Filipino dish tinola. There were a lot of polarizing opinions on the dish, but what we couldn’t wrap our heads around were those saying that tinola is merely chicken with water! (Tinola is yummy, guys!)

Well, a year later, the tinola conversation has reemerged. And we’ve seen some pretty intense tweets about it! Some netizens have expressed that tinola “tastes bland,” “doesn’t taste like anything,” and that it’s merely “tubig na may seasoning.” Of course, tinola fans are not having it, because for some of us, tinola is life.

Two of Philippines’ top food content creators, Panlasang Pinoy and Ninong Ry, have caught wind of this current tinola debate. So in both their newest videos, they collaborated to talk about all things tinola and, most importantly, how to cook tinola the delicious way.

Their mission is simple: To change your mind and convert you into #TeamTinola!

Panlasang Pinoy Ninong Ry Tinola Knorr Chicken Cubes coverImage: (L) Panlasang Pinoy’s tinola | (R) Ninong Ry’s tinola

Panlasang Pinoy’s classic tinola recipe

In Vanjo Meran’s tinola video, a.k.a. Panlasang Pinoy, he wanted to cook tinola in the traditional way. He started by sautéing the aromatics first (onion, garlic, and ginger) before adding in the chicken to sear a little. The most interesting part of his process, though, was the next step: adding in rice water! Yes, as in the water you used to wash uncooked rice. He recommended using the water from the second wash though, as the water from the first wash might be dirty.

Panlasang Pinoy also shared this essential ingredient and his secret to great tinola: Knorr Chicken Cubes! One Knorr Chicken Cube contains the flavor of one whole chicken, so imagine getting double the chicken flavor in your tinola when you use it. 

After adding Knorr Chicken Cubes, Panlasang Pinoy let the pot simmer longer. He eventually added in the green papaya, patis, and at the very end, the sili leaves. He used malunggay too, for maximum nutrition, he said. 

Another insightful tip from him is slow cooking your tinola. According to Panlasang Pinoy, the longer you cook it (which could be up to one hour), the more flavorful your tinola will be. He said the common mistake people do is cooking tinola in high heat, and cooking it fast. This prevents the broth from really extracting the juice and flavors from the chicken and your aromatics. 

Just make sure to keep your flame on the lowest setting if you’re doing this, so you don’t overcook or burn your tinola.

Learn Panlasang Pinoy’s tinola recipe here:

Ninong Ry’s take on tinola, cooked three ways

Ninong Ry’s video starts with a phone call with Panlasang Pinoy, to discuss the tinola debate online and to get tips on how to cook the best tinola possible. Ninong Ry moved on to show us not just one, but three tinola recipes! The first one was his version of the classic tinola, while the next two were fusion recipes: a Hainanese Chicken Tinola where he used tinola ingredients but cooked using Hainanese chicken techniques, and Tinola Risotto, a Filipino take on the classic Italian rice dish. 

Here’s where Ninong Ry’s tinola recipe differed from Panlasang Pinoy’s: He seared the chicken first before the aromatics (ginger, onion, and garlic), and he also used two additional ingredients—lemongrass for added flavor and aroma, and white ground pepper for extra seasoning. He capped the dish off with green papaya and dahon ng sili. 

An important step though that Ninong Ry emphasized is the use of Knorr Chicken Cubes, just like Panlasang Pinoy. Just drop one into the pot while boiling. As Ninong Ry said again and again in his video, Knorr Chicken Cubes “ay may sarap ng isang buong manok!” So don’t forget this step if you want to achieve the best-tasting tinola.

Learn Ninong Ry’s tinola recipe here:

What we loved about Panlasang Pinoy and Ninong Ry’s collaboration is that they covered some controversial debates on making tinola: To use green papaya or sayote? Dahon ng sili or malunggay? Crushed ginger or cut into strips? Pepper or without pepper?

At the end of the day, both agreed that it all boils down to your preference. Use whatever tastes good for you! Although if you ask them, here’s what they personally prefer: 

  • Green papaya for the sweetness it adds, balancing out the saltiness of the patis
  • Dahon ng sili for better flavor, as malunggay has a milder taste
  • Ginger sliced into thin strips, as recommended by Panlasang Pinoy
  • With the pepper, up to you if you want to add this, although traditional tinola doesn’t. If you do, you can use either black or white ground pepper

And though Panlasang Pinoy and Ninong Ry cooked their classic tinola dishes with slightly different techniques, what we couldn’t help but notice was this one very important ingredient in both recipes: Knorr Chicken Cubes.

As both food content creators said, one Knorr Chicken Cube is enough to provide the flavor of one whole chicken, elevating any dish to the best version it could be. But as a staple in any Filipino kitchen, you probably already knew this, right? 😉

Try making tinola today with Knorr Chicken Cubes and let us know how it goes! Tell us in the comments and send us pictures. Happy cooking!

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