There must be some truth to the belief that even hot soup can refresh the body on summer days. I cooked and published the recipe for this pot of chicken tinola exactly five years ago on a day which, in the tradition of Philippine summers, must have been as terribly hot as it was today. So, I am republishing this post — we can all use a respite from the heat by enjoying a light delicious soup.
Tinolang manok, ginger-flavored chicken soup with green papaya and chili leaves (yes, the leaves from the bird’s eye chili plant) was a huge favorite with my family when my brother and I were growing up. My father taught me how to make a special dipping sauce to make the tinola experience even more satisfying — a mixture of mashed chicken liver with patis (fish sauce). I taught my own kids to eat tinola with chayote rather than green papaya, and I never had the opportunity to introduce them to green papaya and the mashed liver and patis dipping sauce until a few nights ago.
Today’s generation knows green papaya as an ingredient for bleaching soap. If health rather than vanity is your priority, you might be interested to know about the many health benefits derived from eating green papaya. It is an important part of Southeast Asian cuisines and there are even Thai and Vietnamese restaurants named Green Papaya. Interesting? Let’s get on with the recipe for chicken tinola.
Recipe: Chicken tinola
- 1 whole chicken (including gizzard and liver), about 1-1/2 kilos in weight
- 2 green papayas
- a bunch of chili leaves
- half a head of garlic
- 1 white onion
- 2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger
- patis (fish sauce), to taste
- 2 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil
- Cut the chicken into 12 to 16 pieces.
- Crush, peel and mince the garlic. Peel and finely slice the onion and ginger.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot. Saute the garlic and ginger until they start to brown. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes or until the onion starts to turn soft. Add the chicken pieces, excluding the liver, and cook in the hot oil until they change color. Pour in enough water to cover. Season with patis. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the green papaya and chili leaves.
- Cut the green papayas in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut off the skin, discard and cut the pale green flesh into wedges.
- Pick the chili leaves and discard the stalks.
- When the chicken has simmered for about 20 minutes, add the green papaya, bring to boil once more, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken liver and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until both the papaya and the chicken liver are done. Do not overcook the papaya. Pierce with a fork after 15 minutes of simmering and, if the fork goes through, it’s done. Season with more patis if necessary.
- Turn off the heat. Drop the chili leaves, cover and leave for about five minutes. Don’t boil the chili leaves because they will turn bitter.
- While waiting for the chili leaves to wilt, make the sauce.
- Scoop out the liver from the pot, place in a saucer with a few tablespoonfuls of patis.
- Mash the liver with the back of a fork and mix into the patis. Serve on the side as a dipping sauce for the chicken tinola.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4