Chicken tinola

Chicken tinola

Tinolang manok

7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

Every culture has a nourishing chicken soup. In the Philippines, their version is laden with ginger, green papaya and malunggay (see note). Filipinos favour ‘native chicken’ in general and particularly for this dish. Slow cooking tenderises the free-range birds (usually reared in the backyard), which are leaner and tougher, but more flavoursome. Elsewhere, try organic or free-range chicken.


Quantity Ingredient
60ml vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into thin wedges
4 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 whole chicken, jointed into 8 pieces, bone in
60ml fish sauce, plus extra to serve
2 litres rice washings, (see note)
1/2 green papaya
or 2 chokoes, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 large handful moringa leaves, chilli leaves or baby spinach
steamed rice and kalamansi or lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring until soft. Increase the heat to medium–high, add the chicken, then cook for 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
  2. Add the fish sauce and rice washings. Bring to the boil, skimming any scum from the surface, then reduce the heat to low–medium and cook for 35 minutes, or until the chicken is nearly cooked. Add the green papaya and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the papaya is tender. Stir in the moringa leaves and when they have wilted, remove the pan from the heat. Season the soup with extra fish sauce, if desired.
  3. Serve with steamed rice, extra fish sauce and kalamansi.

What is it?

  • Malunggay, or moringa in English, is a plant native to India, but widespread throughout tropical countries. In the Philippines, its leaves are highly prized for their nutritional benefits and have long been added to a number of Filipino dishes, particularly soups. It is dubbed ‘the miracle tree’ for its numerous healthful properties. It is also known as ‘horseradish tree’ as the roots taste like real horseradish.

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