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The clear broth of the classic Filipino Tinolang Manok, flavored with ginger gave me the warmth and comfort. The solid chunks of chicken were tender from the slow simmer. The translucent, light green chayote chunks were soft and gave the soupy meal an added dimension. The addition of water spinach made the entire bowl more inviting. I was hungrily slurping my bowl of the Filipino classic soup, chicken tinola and I kept pouring the broth, chicken and vegetables on the steaming mound of rice on my plate. I longed for a family favorite to soothe us. There was nothing that good chicken soup could not do.
When making Filipino soup meals, I always do one simple task my late mom taught me: To save the rice wash, also called in Pilipino as “hugas bigas” (say ‘hoo-gas bee-gas’). Our older generations never threw away anything. Rice wash always made the broth taste even more flavorful, I’ve been told by aunts, cousins and my mom. I diligently saved the rice wash and poured it all in the stock pot.
The clear broth was piping hot, smelled richly of ginger and fish sauce, while the tender chicken slices, the vegetable greens altogether gave me the solace, just like an old friend’s soothing words. I paired it with a big bowl of fragrant jasmine white rice. I watched the clear soup seep into the steaming rice grains and once I had a few spoonfuls, I knew everything would be okay.
Filipino Tinolang Manok -Chicken in Ginger Broth
- Large stockpot or Dutch oven
- 2 cups hugas bigas (rice wash) obtained from 2nd washing of rice grains; or use water
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 whole onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 knob (about 1/2 inch) fresh ginger peeled, sliced thin in 1-inch sticks (about 1/2 Tablespoon)
- 1 Tablespoon pastis (fish sauce)
- 1 whole (3 to 4 pounds) chicken, bone-in, skin-on cut-up in serving pieces
- 6 to 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 to 2 whole sayote (chayote) peeled, cut in 2-inch cubes (or use green papaya), about 2 cups
- 1 bundle (about 2-3 cups) kangkong (water spinach) sliced in 3-inch pieces; or use baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
- for serving: boiled rice
- 4 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce) for serving as a side dipping sauce
- To obtain the rice wash : Before cooking rice, wash the grains twice. After washing the rice a second time, save the liquid in a separate bowl. Use a colander to do this. Add more tap water if needed to have a total of 2 cups saved rice wash. Set aside.
- To cook the Tinola: Separately, in a large pot, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. Saute the onions, fresh ginger, garlic. Cook for six minutes till vegetables soften.
- Add the patis or fish sauce. Then add the chicken pieces.
- Pour the rice wash and the chicken broth.
- Add the black peppercorns. Cover. Let this soup meal come to a boil.Then lower heat to a medium and simmer till chicken is tender and cooked thoroughly for about 50 to 55 minutes.
- In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the sayote chunks. The sayote will turn translucent and soft, from an original tough textured, opaque-looking vegetable. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the spinach at the last 5 minutes when chicken and sayote are cooked. Serve piping hot with boiled white rice. Serve the Tinola with a side dipping sauce of patis (fish sauce).
- Cook's comments: In the Philippines, the tinola tastes even more superb when organic free range chickens are used in the recipe. I didn't have access to free range chickens, but opted for organic from the supermarkets, the next best thing I could find. Also, green papaya, peeled, seeded and sliced in chunks are more often used in the Philippines for tinola. While papaya is a tropical fruit abundant in the Philippines, it is only seasonal when I can find it in Asian markets. Feel free to substitute with sayote (chayote) which has the same texture and flavor.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]