Tinola is a viand staple in any Pinoy household. It's delicious taste is a palate pleaser for everyone. It's salty yet spicy taste from the ginger and the finger pepper is perfect foil for the chicken that slowly cooks in its broth.
Growing up both my mom and my grandmother refused to put anything "artificial" in their dishes. I had learned growing up that doing shortcuts to dishes bastardizes it's true flavors. So for many years, I would never put any MSG or boullion cubes in my dishes. Well, MSG will forever be banned in my pantry.
When I was still working at an advertising agency (many years ago), we conducted a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) for an upcoming soup enhancer product. And our group consisted of housewives and the jolly jeep cooks and vendors. As most Makati urbanites know, but would not admit to, the jolly jeep dishes are quite good and probably the best traditional Pinoy food around. The flavors are simple yet rich and homey. As the discussion progressed, they admitted to using boullion cubes in their tinolas and nilagas.
Going against what mom and lola taught me, I had put that forbidden boullion cube in my tinola. When my tinola was cooked, it was heavenly richer and more flavorful and the aroma was more enticing than my previous tinolas. Hubby loves it and would often eat more than what he intended to every time I serve it on our dinner table.
The boullion cube, a wonder ingredient that no housewife would admit to using. Well, maybe only this one.