Ampalaya with chicken feet made tinola style with tender-crisp bittermelon and fall off the bone chicken feet. Healthy and delicious, it’s perfect paired with steamed rice!
The internet is abuzz these past few days with the fall from grace of Baltimore Raven’s running back, Ray Rice. Watching his brutality on TMZ, I was enraged like most of the world wide web. The whole incident just felt so close to home for comfort.
If you are a long time reader of Kawaling Pinoy and had the tenacity to read through my 200+ recipes, you probably noticed that while my posts are peppered with fond anecdotes of my mother, I rarely, if ever, mention my father. This is not surprising really, with all things considered. My mother was a vicarious woman who centered her life around her children. My father, on the other hand, was a self-indulgent man who put his family last. Our mother was the bright light and steady pillar of our childhood. Our father was non-existent when we were growing up, a neither here nor there presence in our young lives. So while I have many remembrances of my mother’s love and devotion, memories (good, that is) of my father are few and far between, if any.
My father was as heavy with his drink as he was light with his hands. I have abundant recollections of being a frail five-year-old sandwiched between my mother and father in a futile attempt to protect her from his fists. After five years of assault to body and soul, my mother finally had enough sense to realize he was a lost cause.
The funny thing is, even after all the women that came after the end of their marriage, my father to this day claims my mother is his one true love. He never stopped wooing her back. Every time she visited the U.S., he would drop by my house with many excuses why they had to “talk”.
It’s amazing how my whole life I tried hard not to be like my father and yet we are the same in many ways. The shape of his face, the way he walks, his penchant for writing, his appetite for good food. Like me, he also loves to cook. This ampalaya with chicken feet is a recipe he whipped up one day for my and which quickly become her favorite. He would always bring this dish when he visits as a way to get through the door. It’s ironic how every child wishes their parents stay together forever and ever and yet my brothers and I are up in arms to keep that from happening. I mean, seriously, how can you strike the face of the woman you supposedly adore? I do believe he is sincere in his belief that he loves her. I guess, some people simply don’t have a real concept of what love really means.
It’s ironic how every child wishes their parents stay together forever and ever and yet my brothers and I are up in arms to keep that from happening. I mean, seriously, how can you strike the face of the woman you supposedly adore? I do believe he is sincere in his belief that he loves her. I guess some people just don’t have a real concept of what love really means.
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Ampalaya with Chicken Feet
- 2 medium ampalaya
- 2 pounds chicken feet
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2-inch ginger, peeled and julienned
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
Cut ampalaya lengthwise and scrape off seeds and white pith. Slice thinly and place in a bowl, covered in cold water until needed.
Rub chicken feet with salt, rinse and drain. Chop nails.
In a pot over medium heat, bring about 6 cups water to a boil. Add chicken feet and blanch for about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain chicken feet and rinse well with cold water. Discard liquid.
In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring regularly, until limp and aromatic. Add chicken feet. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add fish sauce and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add about 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, skimming any scum that may float on the top. Lower heat, cover and cook for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken feet are very tender and are almost falling off the bone. Add additional water in 1/2 cup increments as needed to maintain about 1 cup broth.
Add ampalaya and gently stir to combine. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until tender yet crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.