Chicken Tinola

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Tinolang manok or Chicken ginger stew is a common comfort food among Filipinos made by boiling the chicken with ginger and garlic, along with ‘malunggay‘ and green papaya or ‘sayote.’

In the Philippines, these greens are readily available since Filipinos usually grow them right in their backyard. But for an expat like me who now lives abroad, I don’t have access to them all the time, resorting to the substitution of similar ingredients. It doesn’t affect the quality or the taste of the dish very much, so it’s okay. I used chayote instead of green papaya and spinach for ‘malunggay’ or pepper leaves. 

Each province in the Philippines would have its own version of Tinolang Manok. They’re all based on a single theme — chicken and ginger. You can’t say that Tinolang Manok is Tinolang Manok without the ginger. The ginger gives the Tinolang Manok a special Asian aroma and taste. Without ginger, the Tinolang Manok would lose its identifying zest and appeal.

This is a hearty soup that you and your family will enjoy.

You will need:

  • 500 grams chicken meat, cut into cubes
  • 100 grams of chicken liver, optional
  • 1 – 2 pcs chayote or green papaya
  • 1/2 cup malunggay (moringa) leaves, optional (if you don’t have moringa leaves, you can use fresh spinach)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, sliced
  • 2 – 3 pcs green chili
  • 5 tbsp patis or fish sauce
  • 800 ml of water
  • black pepper, to taste

Procedure (video):

  1. In a large and deep pan, heat the oil and sauté the ginger and onion for a couple of minutes until fully aromatic.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until all the chicken are lightly browned.
  3. Add fish sauce and water. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the broth is flavorful.
  4. Add the papaya and cover, and simmer until chayote is cooked.
  5. Add black pepper and cover again.
  6. Finally, turn off the heat and add in the spinach, chili, and malunggay leaves and cook until wilted, about a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve to steam hot on a bowl with plain rice on the side.
  8. If you’re Pinoy – serve with some soy and fish sauce combo with a few squeezes of lime juice (calamansi) on the side!

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