Our Family's Traditional and Delicious Tinolang (Chicken Ginger Soup)
Tinolang Manok is a Tagalog term for chicken ginger soup sautéed in onions and garlic, simmered with vegetables like leaves of malunggay (moringa), siling labuyo leaves, and sliced green papaya. Seasoned with pepper, salt, and fish sauce.
Our Tinolang ManokClick thumbnail to view full-size
A Philippine native chicken is known to have a natural flavorful taste, much tastier than commercially bred chicken. It is never in a cage but just roams around the backyard of a house, usually in rural areas.
Our Tinolang Manok using a native chicken is everybody's favorite. My auntie only prepares this on a special occasion because, in Manila, this native chicken is rare. Cooking our Tinola requires advance planning.
We also call it our taditional Tinolang Manok because everything is old-fashioned—from finding and buying the chicken (because we need to buy them alive) and preparing the chicken the old way just like those times when it was natural for women to learn how to slaughter a chicken for a family meal. In our family, only Aunt Mele can prepare a chicken that way.
During family gathering, this is the superstar in the dining table because everybody just craves it.
Native chicken is also more expensive, and yet we can't easily find it in the market or groceries. In our case (we're in Marikina), my cousins made a big-time effort to look for it. And they went as far as the Arrangue Market in Manila. Okay, I should not forget to mention that transporting it back home is agonizing because it's alive! My cousins are so "used" to that kind of sacrifice every year.
- Green papaya, sliced
- Chili leaves or pepper leaves - Dahon ng sili in Tagalog
- Malunggay leaves
- Ginger, sliced thinly
- fish sauce to taste
- Chicken cubes (not required depends on your taste)
- Raw or uncooked rice, to be mixed with chicken blood and to be added in the broth while boiling
- In a sauce pan, heat oil. Saute garlic, onions, and ginger. Add chicken and cook 3 to 5 minutes until chicken turned white or half cooked.
- Pour in water or rice water (water collected from washing the rice). Bring to boil then simmer.
- Add the mixture of chicken blood and uncooked rice. Then add the green papaya.
- Continue simmering until the chicken and vegetables are tender.
- Season the soup with fish sauce, salt, and pepper (you can add the chicken cubes, not really required but it depends on your taste).
- Add the pepper leaves and malunggay leaves.
- Cover and let simmer for 3 minutes or until the malunggay leaves and pepper leaves are cooked.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with fish sauce.
To simmer is to boil gently
Earth Stove and CharcoalClick thumbnail to view full-size
Cooking Tinola Using Earth Stove and Charcoal
We cook our Tinola the hard way, but we have proven it many times that the manner of cooking has something to do with its distinctive taste and tenderness of the chicken.
We used the earth stove and charcoal especially during the simmering part. Cooking of tinola is longer this way and we need to maintain the fire by producing air manually using a fan (pamaypay in tagalog).
Looks like we made our lives difficult just to serve this dish when we can easily go to big groceries and supermarket to buy fresh cut chicken, and instead of using made from the mud or earth stove with burning charcoal, we can use our gas range and double burner. But we are after the traditional taste that we love, and no matter how tired we are, nothing can equal the contentment that we see from the faces of our delighted members of the family. Cooking Tiinola for us is more than cooking, it's also a labor or love.
Aunt Mele's Tinolang Native Chicken
Questions & Answers
© 2010 Maria Cecilia