Like you I think I am also confused on what’s the difference between Tinola, Pinatisan and Nilaga, as you can see they all look alike so what’s the difference? Well I will clarify this based on my observation on different households that prepare this on a usual basis.
Tinola, perhaps is the most popular of the three a chicken soup dish infused with lots of ginger and usually cooked with either young papaya or chayote. Ginger is the defining factor in this dish based on my observation. Nilaga I guess is the simplest version of the dish and rarely contains ginger but has more vegetables and contains potatoes. Finally, Pinatisan again a chicken soup dish more closely resembling Tinola but with less ginger and having a strong fish sauce taste. Another close similarity is the use of chilli leaves that gives a different unique peppery taste to the soup. With all this three the biggest similarity is the chicken as well the soup part, some families use just water, other use stock but another method to make it thick is using rice wash (water used in second washing of the rice).
There you go my very own comparison, not sure if I am correct but that is based on my observation. How about you what’s your take on this dish? Do you know the differences?
- 1 kg free range chicken thighs and legs
- 1 litre rice wash (water used in rinsing rice)
- 1 bunch spinach leaves, malunggay leaves or watercress
- 1 bunch chilli leaves or capsicum leaves
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- fish sauce
- ground black pepper
- chopped spring onions, to garnish
- In a non-reactive bowl marinate chicken in 4 tbsp fish sauce for 15 minutes.
- In a pot heat oil then add chicken, pan fry for 2 minutes on each side in high heat. Remove chicken then set it aside.
- And sauté garlic, onions and ginger. Cook until onions are soft.
- Add rice wash and chicken bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour, if you are not using free range 35 minutes would be enough.
- Add chilli leaves and spinach leaves/malunggay, cover and simmer for 1 more minute.
- Season with fish sauce and freshly ground pepper then garnish with spring onions.