Tinola is a hearty Filipino recipe made with chicken. My Mom makes this simple Filipino dish with bittermelon leaves or green papaya. It’s a pretty versatile dish and great for cooler weather, more like comfort food. Usually, this dish can be made with whatever Filipino vegetable is available. Marrungay Trees are abundant in the Philippines, usually grown in the back or front yard. Bittermelon is also widely available.
Often times, chicken and a green vegetable will be enough to make this dish with chicken. Simmering the chicken for a while brings out the flavor. Me, on the other hand, I don’t have a lot of time to cook. However, making sure the meat is flavorful is something that I’ve learned to do.
Sauteeing on high heat and adding the seasonings helps to infuse the seasonings into the meat which helps to hasten the flavors from the meat. Not sure if this makes sense. But, cooking on high heat carefully can bring about the flavorful meat and rendering will bring out better soup quality
Also, cooking with fresh cut meat instead of frozen will bring out the better quality soup. For this recipe, I purposely chose brown chicken because brown chicken has a sweeter taste than regular white chicken.
I like to do fusion cooking, in this case, my daughter wanted tinola but with some squash and spinach leaves. She’s not too keen on the taste of bittermelon.
Tinola Manok or Chicken Soup with Vegetables
1 whole brown chicken or a whole chicken cut up
2 to 3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons garlic granules
1 round onion, sliced
1/2 inch ginger smashed and very finely minced
2 stalks green onions cut into 1 inch
1 small daikon, cut in half then sliced
1 small squash, cored then cut into quarters, then sliced
1 bunch spinach, remove stems and cut in half or thirds
3 small heads baby won bok, washed
3 tablespoons oil
Fish Sauce, Black Pepper to taste
Enough water to cover the chicken
Clean chicken with sea salt, rinse thoroughly. Set aside in strainer and let the extra water drip off.
Put oil in a pot on high heat. Add fresh garlic, ginger, and onions. Then add chicken pieces. Add a few splashes of fish sauce, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon garlic granules. Saute on high heat until chicken is brown. Stir several times, making sure it doesn’t burn. This should take about 5 to 8 minutes.
Add enough water to cover chicken. Add more fish sauce, black pepper and the remaining garlic granules to taste. I like to add a lot of garlic when I cook, so I will add extra garlic granules. It’s good for keeping cholesterol low and garlic is good for maintaining heart health.
Add in squash, daikon, and green onions. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer until the daikon and squash are half cooked.
Add baby won bok and spinach. Taste again and adjust seasoning as needed.
Reduce heat to low, let simmer for a few minutes until won bok stems are cooked. Serve hot.
You can add any vegetables you want with this dish. Most recipes call for chicken broth. It’s not necessary if you can infuse the meat with flavor from the beginning of the cooking stage.