Chicken Tinola or just Tinola is 100% Filipino dish. You will not find anything like it from our neighboring Asian countries or even around the globe. I would say that next to Adobo, Tinola is the most favorite dish in every Filipino household commonly served for lunch or dinner…with rice of course.
Put simply, Tinola is a chicken soup with lots of ginger and goodness in it. It is no wonder that every time I feel that I am about to get sick or when it is getting too cold for me, I would crave for this dish. It is some kind of a comfort food I guess…keeps you warm and healthy from all the good stuff in it. I was actually surprised (and feeling proud) that Armin liked Tinola the first time he tried it. He likes ginger, really like a lot! Which is good because I like it too!!! Sometimes he would actually request for it himself and, of course, I would happily oblige. But I have to put in some extra ginger or there will be war! It is like a contest on who gets to find more ginger strips from the soup bowl…or the fastest!
I was also surprised that he likes ‘sayote’ or chayote squash which is a typical ingredient of Tinola along with chili/pepper leaves. Unripe papaya is also commonly used instead of chayote squash. I actually planted chili peppers just so I can have access to the leaves for cooking Tinola because, sadly, it is not sold in our local Asian food store, but that is fine we like chili peppers too so its all good, almost nothing goes to waste from the plant then..hehe.
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 big cloves garlic - - minced
- 1 medium onion - - coarsely chopped
- 1 thumb ginger root - - cut into strips
- 1 pound chicken - - cut into serving pieces
- 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 cups water
- 1 chayote - - cut into wedges
- 1 cup chili leaves - or pepper leaves
- In a pot, saute garlic, onion and ginger in oil until tender.
- Add in the chicken pieces and fish sauce. Cover and let simmer for 5-10 minutes under medium low fire. Liquids will usually come out from chicken.
- Add water and bring to boil. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the chayote and let it cook for 5 minutes or until it becomes soft.
- Add more fish sauce or salt if needed.
- Lastly, mix in the chili or pepper leaves before turning off the heat.