In one unforgettable conversation with Mom, she lamented how people these days have totally relied on instant flavoring, particularly those flavored cubes of dehydrated seasoning. This applies particularly when cooking iconic pinoy dishes particularly our sinigangs, our tinolas and mostly those that involve meats.
Tinolang Manok (at Baboy), in particular, can be prepared and cooked without any of these “extras”. Mom however justified that if you wanted things done fast, then use it. But if you had the luxury of time, i-sangkutya mong mabuti for a more authentic taste. I’ve been looking for an english equivalent of sangkutya. It’s not “to simmer” or “reduce” or even “to braise”. It could be a combination of all of these but a bit more.
To my understanding, sangkutya means “to bring out the intense flavors of meat”, by first, cooking it in low heat or what Mom calls “slow fire”, infusing it with combination of flavor-intensive ingredients (in the case of our Tinolang Manok and Baboy, patis or fish sauce and ginger), and with a very small amount of liquid left, to cover the meat and let it “sweat” for a few minutes. Mom says “pinapalabas mo yung lasa at mantika ng meat pagkaganun!” (By doing so, you’d bring out the natural oils and flavors of the meat).
Well, this Tinola which was “half prepared” by Mom. She granted me the liberty to “finish” the preparation If and when I woke up from my deep slumber from a long working day. Mom knew how I wanted my papaya and dahon ng sili half-cooked. So, as expected, here I am, once again enjoying 2am and food. I do hope that culinary family traditions like these could be documented. Here’s to Mom and her “Sangkutyadong Tinola”!