Thursday, May 29, 2008

Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup with Green Papaya and Pepper Leaves)

Simple Filipino Meal, Dish #1

Chicken tinola is one of my all-time favourite dishes. It is one of the dishes that I remember asking our Yaya to make me every once so often during childhood.

It is an extremely simple dish to make. In true minimalist fashion, there are only five ingredients I need to make chicken tinola: chicken, green papaya, chili pepper leaves, ginger, and fish sauce.

Sometimes we can even get away with having no green papaya. The ingredient that makes chicken tinola a chicken tinola is the chili pepper leaves (dahon ng sili).

The picture below has garlic together with the ginger. I usually like just ginger, lots and lots of ginger. I can dispense with the garlic.

Sauté the ginger pieces in a little bit of oil until fragrant. Put the chicken pieces in and sauté. Browning the chicken pieces adds a lot of flavour, but can be skipped if pressed for time or lacking industry.

Here, we just cut up a whole chicken into smaller parts.

I must say that my favourite has to be chicken tinola made with chicken wings though. I find myself not caring much for the meat and prefer picking out the meat from between the bones of the wing. It's that part that makes the whole chicken tinola experience for me. Chicken wing tinola makes for a much more flavourful result, probably because of the fat content in chicken wings.

Add the green papaya pieces, add water, and then season the broth with a little bit of fish sauce and the whole dish is one step close to being done.

Add the chili pepper leaves at the end.

The chili pepper leaves have that distinct greengrassyherby aroma that is the smell of tinola. I'm sure some people would say substitute with spinach or water spinach but it's really not the same.

Without the chili pepper leaves, it's not chicken tinola, merely another chicken soup.

I made a little condiment for the chicken tinola, following this tip from Connie at pinoycook.

left: boiled chicken livers; right: patis (fish sauce), Rufina is a Philippine brand

I boiled chicken livers in a separate pot in some tinola broth until done. Then I took the pieces and mashed it with patis (fish sauce).

Quite tasty and perfect not only with the tinola, but on its own with rice.

Here's the money shot.

Simple Filipino Meal

Dish #1: Chicken Tinola
Dish #2: Oyster Torta
Dish #3: Adobo Kangkong
Dish #4: Baked Tahong

[eatingclub] vancouver Filipino food
Mama's Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)
Faux Kamote-Que
Philippine-Style Chicken "BBQ"
Fried Hasa Hasa (Mackerel)
"Savory" Chicken Wings
Sinamak (Chile-infused Vinegar)
Pan-roasted Halibut w/ Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes & Bagoong Butter Sauce
Bulalo & Bangus: an even simpler Filipino meal
Baked Tahong (Mussels)
Adobo Kangkong (Adobo Water Spinach)
Oyster Torta (Oyster Omelette)
Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup w/ Green Papaya & Pepper Leaves)
(Chinese) Roast Pork Belly / Lechon
Tilapia wrapped in Banana Leaves
Pork Belly, Two Ways
Chicken Adobo
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Lechon Manok (Philippine Roast Chicken) & Lechon Sauce
"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters
Bistek (Citrus Beef with Caramelized Onions)
Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)
Atsara (Green Papaya Pickle)
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines) and Pressure Cooker Fear


  1. Funny your comment about "Lack of Industry". other words lazy. Or in Tagalog. "May sakit sa bato. (As in bato-gan)".

    Actually you can also substitute chayote if you can't find green papaya.

    Tinola is another simple dish to make but it's good. It can pass for comfort food Pinoy style.

  2. BTW, where can you buy chilli pepper leaves?

  3. Hi Joseph --

    I usually get the chili pepper leaves from either Yaohan or T&T. They don't always have it, but when they do, they usually pack it in clear, plastic bags near where all the green leafies are.

  4. Hi Jojo,

    Yes!! I found some in T&T Richmond. They also have green papayas. I also bought chicken wings and chicken bones. I roasted the chicken bones first then boiled it to make chicken broth for the chicken wings tinola. Thanks again for the post.

  5. Howdy! Thank you so much for checking out our blog! I'm now poking around yours and only got thru the latest post and i'm already hooked!!! CHICKEN LIVERS MASHED UP IN SOUP!!?? Are you freaking kidding me? This looks so delicious and will be bookmarked for when colder weather returns. I also love that you really schooled me on the authenticity of this dish.

  6. I got the stuff to make this tonight. Well, almost. I have no idea what kind of leaves I got-- they're a bit minty, actually. I wish I had read more in depth before I went to the store, because if I saw the comment about them in the clear plastic bags, I could've grabbed them!
    Anyhow, I have everything else so I'll see how dinner tonight goes... :)

  7. you like tinola?me tip ako syo,when sauteing the chicken, i-add mo na ang patis.mejo damihan mo kse sasabawan mo rin lang.palutuin mo ang manok na hindi pa tinutubigan.cover and simmer mo sya sa medium fire.then pagluto na manok,ska mo lagyan ng me,hehehe.kung hindi sumarap yan,nakow!

  8. Thanks for the comments. Wow, we love it that you are making this dish!

    Thanks for the tip, Geraldine. We add patis (fish sauce) pala while the soup is cooking, but we've never added it to the chicken before adding water. We'll try it.


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