Tinola is one of the most recognized Filipino soups; sinigang and nilaga are the other popular Philippine soups. The broth is flavored mainly by ginger, fish sauce, garlic, and sometimes onion. It is considered a comfort food and a favored dish by someone who is recovering from illness. Ginger has antimicrobial properties so tinola being a ginger-based soup may help speed up wound healing. This dish is also suggested to lactating mothers because moringa or malunggay leaves and green papaya (unripe papaya) can boost breast milk production.
The classic or traditional chicken tinola uses green papaya and chili pepper leaves (dahon ng siling labuyo) as vegetable ingredients. In this recipe, moringa leaves (malunggay leaves) were also included which makes the soup even more nutritious. When we say tinola, most people will immediate think of chicken tinola or tinolang manok. Nowadays, though, the tinola way of cooking is also applied to fish wherein they call it tinolang isda (fish tinola).
There are several ways to cook chicken tinola. Some want to saute the chicken pieces (sangkutsa) along with garlic and ginger. Others don’t use cooking oil and just boil directly the ingredients. In this version of chicken tinola, we browned the chicken pieces first, added fish sauce, before adding liquid.
How to Cook Tinolang Manok
Chicken Tinola Ingredients
2 tbsp cooking oil
5 cloves garlic
1.5 inch ginger
525g mixed chicken parts (rekado cuts)
3 tbsp fish sauce
5 cups water
400g green papaya
2 cups moringa (malunggay ) leaves
1 handful chili pepper leaves (siling labuyo leaves or Bird’s eye chili leaves)
1/2 cube chicken bouillon (optional)
Use leaves of siling labuyo or Filipino bird’s eye chili. Using other chili pepper leaves may provide different hint of peppery flavor. The leaves of labuyo are usually broader and darker green in color than other varieties of chili.
Do not use too much oil in browning the chicken. You do not want to serve an oily soup.
Skim off the foam that will float.
Do not overcook papaya and chili pepper leaves
Tinola is best served hot with steamed rice, just right after cooking. But if you have leftovers, you can transfer the tinola in a container with a lid and refrigerate for 2-3 days. Reheat until the broth comes back clear. Wait until the meat gets soft again before serving because the chicken may still a bit firm even when the broth gets warm.