Chicken Tinola or Tinolang Manok is the ultimate comfort food among Filipino recipes. And, dare I say it, it far surpasses the sinigang recipe as a comfort food. In my opinion, tinolang manok is the best comfort food that Filipino cuisine has to offer.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. For those who don’t know, tinolang manok or chicken tinola is a Filipino chicken soup dish. Chicken parts and even a whole chicken cut is boiled with cuts of green papaya, ginger, dahon ng siling labuyo or chili pepper leaves, chopped onions, and fish sauce.
Tinolang manok is typically eaten for lunch or dinner either as the appetizer or the main meal. But the best time to eat tinolang manok is during rainy days where the hot chicken broth that’s seasoned with fragrant ingredients will warm you up and bring a kick to your system. Eating tinolang manok when the weather is cold brings a nostalgic feeling among many Filipinos out there.
It’s also popularly served to people who are sick. The chicken is tenderized in the broth and a bowl of white rice with the broth, leafy greens, and chunks of tender chicken serve for a light meal. The flavor of the broth brings a light kick of energy from the ginger.
It’s the best meal to eat whenever you come home after a tiring day of school or work. It’s the quintessential comfort food for everyone and for whatever in life that may ail you.
Plus, not only is it the best thing you can eat whenever you’re experiencing a rainy day, figuratively and literally, tinolang manok is also very delicious and quite healthy. It’s an overall beloved dish in the Philippines that for some reason can only be found in the household or local carinderia. I don’t think I’ve ever seen tinolang manok on a restaurant’s menu.
The lack of commercialized popularity of tinolang manok only serves to add its value as a Filipino recipe that’s ingrained in Filipino households. When I think of tinolang manok, it’s through and through a dish that’s supposed to be shared with family.
There’s also a sort of custom that was developed when serving tinolang manok to people on the table. You see, typically all the edible parts of the chicken are cooked in the broth, among them includes the liver, gizzards, and neck.
The most nutritious and desirable parts of the chicken are usually reserved for the guest of honor on the table, usually the eldest of the group or the youngest children who can use the extra nutrition. The liver and the chicken breast being two of the most desired parts.
The least desired part is the chicken neck. If you’re offered the chicken neck, this can mean that you’re looked on with disdain or the least important person on the table.
Jose Rizal even made use of this centuries-old custom. In his novel Noli Me Tangere, the corrupt Spanish Friar was offered the chicken neck of the Tinolang Manok, while the Crisostomo Ibarra, the protagonist, was given the chicken breast.
Quite interesting, right? But not everyone is fastidious with this custom so it doesn’t necessarily mean anything if you’re ever offered a certain part of the chicken when Tinolang Manok is served during the meal. Most likely, it’s a free for all at the table where the fastest hands get the most desirable parts of the chicken first. But everyone will get their fill of the delicious Tinolang Manok.
So here’s our Tinolang Manok Recipe that’s meant to be enjoyed by the entire family. We’re going to use a whole native chicken for this one. It’s going to be a huge meal. We’re going to use the traditional ingredients for this recipe except for the dahon ng siling labuyo or chili pepper leaves. We’re gonna substitute that with malunggay leaves which will work just as well.
We’re also going to add a fair bit of seasoning with this recipe to maximize the flavors we’re going to achieve. This Chicken Tinolang Recipe isn’t only going to be delicious but really healthy as well. So make sure that every member of your family gets a serving of this dish.
We’ll need to do a bit of prep work with the ingredients but you can request to have the whole chicken cut at the butcher or market to save time. The cooking process takes about an hour because we need to tenderize the chicken and steadily layer up the flavors of the broth.
All the ingredients used in this recipe are enumerated down below as well as the cooking instructions for this tinolang manok recipe. If you like to see how this recipe is cooked in action, we made a fun video for you detailing all you need to know including the list of ingredients and the step by step guide on its cooking process. Serve hot with white rice and enjoy!
- 1 whole Native chicken
- 1 whole papaya
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 big onion
- 50 grams of ginger
- 3 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 cup Malunggay leaves
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. Pepper
- 1⁄2 tsp. Seasoning Granules
- 1.5 liters of Water
- 1 pc. Chili finger
- 2 tbsp Oil
- In the preheated pan add oil and ginger then saute.
- Add the garlic and stir. Then add the sliced onions and stir well.
- Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Then cook until the color turns light brown and cover.
- Add the water then cover and let boil and for 45 minutes.
- Add the papaya, seasoning granules, and fish sauce. Cook for 20 minutes
- Lastly, add the malunggay leaves and chili finger. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot. Share and enjoy!