Nothing comforts like home cooking, and no one does it better than our nanays and lolas, right? We want to achieve that same taste of home but with the hustle and bustle of life today, we lack time to cook meals completely from scratch.
Also, there’s the issue of cost — apart from taking longer, traditional cooking may use a lot of ingredients.
Thankfully, we have the solution: we present cost-cutting examples for the classic Filipino comfort food Chicken Tinola and the Friday favorite Ginisang Monggo. See how you can prepare healthy and tasty home-cooked meals without spending so much time and money.
Flavor comes from the broth and meat
The best flavor comes from a good broth. But a broth’s ingredients are costly; it takes longer to make the broth than to actually use it for cooking, plus it’s tedious and space-consuming. If stored improperly, stock can go bad quickly — that’s a big waste of money.
Basic ingredients for a good chicken broth include chicken (with bones), onions, carrots, celery, a whole head of garlic, fresh herbs like parsley and thyme, and peppercorn.
The bones used in making a good pork broth come from the more expensive cuts in the market such as ribs, trotters, neck, and even hock. Pork broth also requires twice the amount of time than other stocks to simmer for flavors to develop.
These are all still a separate cost. You’d be over-spending and doing double for one dish when you could be giving those extra efforts for your family.
The best workaround are Knorr Chicken and Pork Cubes; Knorr Pork Cubes are made with real meat that fills your Monggo with meaty-deliciousness and Knorr Chicken Cubes is made with long-boiled chicken that gives your Tinola full-flavored scrumptiousness that your family deserves.
At a fraction of the cost, you can make flavorful authentic broth with Knorr Cubes using less work, less expense, and with less gas or electricity usage.
Instead of buying meats for flavoring broth, you can focus on buying the main meat; adobo and menudo cuts work well with Monggo because they have tastier cuts containing blocks of fat and meat. While for Tinola, thighs and legs work best for the bones and skin adds to the flavor of the soup.
Mind your seasonings
People don’t think about seasoning because it’s a mundane step, but crucial for building flavor. Everyone knows salt and pepper – but who doesn’t love patis in their tinola?
Choose either patis or salt for seasoning; patis is recommended because it has twice the amount of sodium which helps draw out more moisture and flavor from the meat and a little can go a long way!
Top Tip: Season the chicken and marinade before going in the pot. This ensures seasoning penetrates until the bone which adds more flavor to the soup.
You don’t have to use cooking oil
Did you know that unprocessed, natural fat is good for the brain? Plus, it saves you money. By choosing parts with fat and skin, you will be able to use natural oil and forego cooking oil.
Rendering and cooking meat in its own fat starts building flavor. You just have to separate pork fat from meat then season separately.
Render the fat over medium high heat. From time to time, sprinkle ice cold water over it for faster rendering and crispy skin. Once cooked, remove fat and you have flavored oil.
Ever heard of the term sangkutsa? This also means rendering, which our lolas do all the time. In Tinola, the patis you seasoned the chicken with helps draw out moisture to allow more fat to be released. With the aromatic addition of onion, garlic and ginger — flavors will sing!
Top Tip: Render the fats and fry them to a crunch so no need for chicharon in Monggo anymore!
Choose your greens
In terms of getting a bang for your buck, green papaya is better than chayote. Papaya is cheaper, and has more vitamins and nutrients than chayote. For the additional greens, opt for the chili leaves rather than malunggay.
The chili leaves will offer another depth of spice and warmth to the soup. Chili leaves are also more user-friendly for kitchen novices!
Save more with one pot cooking
Cooking in one pot eliminates the need to use multiple pots and utensils and also cuts down the cooking process and cooking time without losing any flavor – and it does so you can have your dinner quickly.
Avoid using more oil to cook different components in separate pans or pots and losing the potential flavors when transferring ingredients between pots like in the traditional way of cooking.
Knorr Pork and Chicken Cubes are best for this kind of cooking; for Monggo, add Knorr Pork Cubes while sautéing to enhance the flavors further. After the addition of mung beans and water, the dish is done! You also save money by needing to use less water and less dishwashing soap because you have less of a mess to clean up after!
Top Tip: Soak mung beans in water overnight for faster cooking the next day.
Lower your grocery bill and optimize the flavor of the classic comfort food we all love.
Final tip: Store these dishes properly and enjoy them for days and you’re set for the week! And for more recipes, check these Knorr Recipe Ideas out.
Disclaimer: Prices are from major Metro Manila groceries and may change after date of publication