August 6, 2013

Green Papaya Recipe : Tinolang Manok

My beloved neighbour, Mrs. Ling Kai Sui, gave me a green papaya and I just wanted to cook tinolang Manok. But unfortunately, the papaya, though all green outside, is rather red inside.

And, on top of that, although I have all the other ingredients, I do not have water cress or spinach. But any way, I cook it and it is lovely.

I love to mention that when a dish has a literary reference, I am very excited to share this bit of information. This dish was featured in Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere. Rizal is the founding father of the Philippines and a national hero.
A food critic wrote, "However, that is not only the reason why Tinolang Manok is popular. It is a healthy and hearty soup that is boiled with chicken, green papaya and spinach or water cress leaves. You may substitute the papaya with chayote or zucchini and the soup will taste just as good."
My not so green papaya chicken dish or Tinolang Manok
My dish turns out quite colourful, although the chicken (from the supermarket, and not free range) is a bit over done.

The next time I see a green, really green papaya, I must cook this dish again.

And if the cooked green papaya and chicken are mashed together for a baby it will really be a nice evening meal.

All you need is half a chicken, cut into bite sizes, ten slices of green papaya, a few drops of fish sauce, some chilies, one or two pieces of serai, pepper, salt and may be a squeeze of calamansi (small limes)...and you have a Philipino Manok (Chicken ) Dish with a literary reference!!

I think we should promote this dish more in Sarawak where papayas are so readily available.

But then would our Foochow Chicken Soh Mien make it into a novel about Foochow diaspora?  Or would Ayam Pansoh make into a novel about Iban Struggle for Equality?

(from http://sugarlace.com/2010/05/chicken-tinola-a-look-at-jose-rizals-noli-me-tangere/
The extremely simplified synopsis of the novel is this: Ibarra comes home to the Philippines from studying in Europe, and sees the love of his life Maria Clara (Kapitan Tiyago’s daughter) again. He also finds out that his father was wrongly accused as a reformist by none other than Pari Damaso, and that the same priest has been insulting him and in modern terms, “talking behind his back to Maria Clara’s father”. All these Ibarra ignored until one day Damaso insulted Ibarra’s father which precipitated Ibarra to almost killing Damaso. Ibarra was excommunicated from Maria Clara, who was in turn betrothed to marry a Spaniard Linares.
But there’s always a twist to the story, eh?
Maria Clara soon found out her father is not Kapitan Tiyago as she initially thought, but is actually Damaso. In the meantime, Ibarra was wrongly accused again and was imprisoned, but was helped to escape by a mysterious character Elias. In a bid to escape the Spanish soldiers, both went in a boat but was tracked down. Elias told Ibarra to hide inside the boat while he jumped out in the water, and was consequently rained down with gunshots. Unbeknownst to the Spaniards, it was Elias that they were shooting and not Ibarra. News travelled back to Maria Clara that Ibarra has perished, and thus begged Damaso that she be put in a nunnery.
This is where the story ends, and Rizal’s second book El Filibusterismo begins. But… that’s another story for another day.

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