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