10 Aug2005

This is a nice rainy day variation to the more plebian (and one of my all-time favorites) tinola. The lemon grass and large chunks of coconut give this soup that little extra something. The original recipe is credited to Ado Escudero but I have made some adjustments for added flavor and less fuss. What I like about this soup is the depth of flavor for something so incredibly “instant.” Most good soups require some time for the broth to develop “character” but the strength of ginger, lemongrass and fish sauce shortcuts this process nicely. This is a home-style recipe at its best. And it is really simple to make. The only catch is that it needs fresh coconuts which for many of Marketmanila’s readers I gather could be an issue…

First, sauté 6 finely chopped cloves of garlic and about 1 tablespoon of smashed ginger in hot vegetable oil. Take care not to burn the garlic and ginger or the soup will carry that burnt flavor. Add 1 medium onion chopped and several stalks (white part only) of smashed tanglad (lemongrass). binakol2 Cook another 2-3 minutes until the onion sweats a bit. Add chopped pieces of one whole chicken with bones and all and add patis (fish sauce) to taste (that means several tablespoons for most) and some whole or freshly cracked black peppercorns. Saute until the chicken has become half cooked, then add 6-8 cups of rice washing. Rice washing is the cloudy water that occurs after dry rice grains are soaked and drained out. It has the effect of slightly thickening the soup in short order. Cook for at least 10+ minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked.

When almost ready to serve, add large pieces of medium-ripe buko meat, 3 cups of buko water (the liquid inside fresh coconuts), and dahon ng sili (young chilli leaves). abin33Serve piping hot with a nice bowl of steamed rice. Sometimes I just put my rice straight into the soup bowl. The mixture of meat and vegetable/fruit, the slight spiciness of the greens, the sweetness of the buko, the saltiness of the fish sauce all come together in a very satisfying bowl of soup. If you want to get a little fancy, serve the soup in a buko shell. Slice off a bit of the bottom so it sits flat and steady on a plate.



  1. suzette says:

    i’ll have mine with patis and sili on the side… yum :)

    Aug 10, 2005 | 2:29 pm


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  3. Ann says:

    this is really tinola with a twist, first time to see this kind of variation, and have yet to try. Looks tasty. i wonder what could be a good substitute for ‘dahon ng sili’ (this isn’t available here), could be spinach?

    Aug 10, 2005 | 3:01 pm

  4. rose aka sunbridge says:

    Reminds of my lola when she’d feed me tinola whenever I have a fever or a cold. Like suzette, I’ll hav emine with patis and sili, with a touch of calamansi. *tummy growls*

    Aug 10, 2005 | 3:02 pm

  5. Karen says:

    Perfect for rainy days! Is this it or is it just similar to the dish cooked in Quezon where they use coconuts liberally. They even have a buco pancit, substituting buco strips for pancit.

    You make me want to try this tomorrow, Marketman! Thanks for posting this.

    Aug 10, 2005 | 4:31 pm

  6. virgilio says:

    Funny you would post this recipe at a time I crave for it. I might try yours one day when I could get fresh buko meat and juice but meanwhile I long for the tinola with green papaya and chili leaves. I use paprika leaves when chili leaves are not available (don’t notice the difference)and kohlrabi for papaya. The tinola I remember from way back when would also have flat cake of rice made solid with chicken blood (cooked, of course).

    Aug 10, 2005 | 4:53 pm

  7. Gigi says:

    Back in the days when my parents were alive and I lived in a bustling home filled with the noise of a busy-mouthed Mother (God bless her), tinola was cooked not with chicken but with buto-buto or pork ribs. It was absolutely delightful.

    I could never bring myself to eat chicken tinola to this day because I can still remember how my Mother would mercenarily slash the neck of a helplessly protesting chicken with a swift hand and then let the blood drip into a platito with uncooked rice. (I avoided using that platito). The pork ribs were fun to eat and everybody had a fair share of meat. The broth had a flavorful depth too.

    Thank you for this interesting take on the tinola , Marketman. Btw– I bring good news. Fresh buco isn’t so hard to come by now with supermarkets like Shopwise that sell it. :)

    Aug 10, 2005 | 5:32 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Gigi, I love tinola too. On the buco comment, I was referring to the over 60% of marketmanila readers who seem to be based in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan and the U.K. who may have a touch more difficulty finding a good fresh buco! While I thought this site would be targeted at folks based in Manila, so many Filipinos around the globe seem to be checking in regularly!… Suzette, this is good with more patis and a crushed chilli…Virgilio, how clever to use kohlrabi in lieu of green papaya… and paprika leaves, I have never even seen those! Karen, try this, it really is comfort food.

    Aug 10, 2005 | 6:03 pm

  9. fried-neurons says:

    Watercress is better than spinach as a substitute for dahon nig sili because watercress is peppery in flavor. :)

    Aug 10, 2005 | 6:14 pm

  10. joey says:

    Binakol! This is my lola’s absolute absolute favorite! As far as comfort food goes, a bowl of this can cure many ills. It just feels sooo gooood going down no? I remember eating this during my lola’s birthday dinner when my aunt decided to throw a garden party (complete with canopies, candlelight, professional centerpieces and all! The works!!!)in the middle of a signal # 2 typhoon. Me sipping hot binakol out of a fresh buko in the middle of a tempest, the winds threatening to lift the canopy/tent of the ground, the rains soaking the tablecloths (and us!). Wild. One of my favorite food memories.

    Aug 10, 2005 | 7:19 pm

  11. Rey says:

    Market man di pa ako nakatikim nang sinigang na fresh buko ang sahug at puwede palang gamitin yang pinag hugasan nang bigas salamat sa idea mo ginutom mo na naman ako,marami akong tanim na sweet banana pepper kaya sinigang bukas ang ulam.

    Aug 11, 2005 | 8:55 am

  12. lee says:

    nice, perfect for rainy days. when i first tried binakol a long time ago, i thought the buko meat were loose molo wrappers. Namit!

    Aug 11, 2005 | 9:08 am

  13. Bubut says:

    you can also use sayote if green papaya is not available.

    Aug 11, 2005 | 2:36 pm

  14. stefoodie says:

    for US residents, there’s buko in the frozen section, shredded nga lang usually. and paprikas are also from the pepper family (capsicum frutescens and capsicum annuum) so they will work perfectly, just a different cultivar that’s all.

    Aug 12, 2005 | 10:47 am

  15. Chiqui says:

    Your food pictures are great. and people actually pay for food stylists.

    Aug 13, 2005 | 6:51 am

  16. honeylyn says:

    magaling akong magluto pero ngayon ko lang naalaman na pwde pala lagayan ng gata ng niyog ang tinolang manok.ang galing naman masarap kaya yan? hindi kaya masisira ang tyan ko pag kumain ka niyan? sige i will try to cook.about that recipes.so kailangan pala isali ung laman ng niyog.sige i ask to my mother first.tnks for the recipes.marami nanaman akung matutunan dito sa site na to.

    Aug 13, 2005 | 4:50 pm

  17. karen says:

    This is sooooo good, marketman. I just tried this recipe today for lunch. I’ve never heard it before, but since it’s similar to tinola (I love that stuff) I thought I’d give it a try. It’s like a more fragrant tinola (thanks to the lemongrass) with a tinge of sweetness from the buko juice. Wow!! :)

    Aug 17, 2005 | 6:16 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    Karen, glad you liked it. With this site I am discovering simple, pure, doable food that makes me even more proud of what we can cook in the Philippines…

    Aug 17, 2005 | 9:40 pm

  19. edee says:

    I would love to try this, pero saan kaya ako kukuha ng fresh buko? ang nakikita ko sa market dito eh yung nabalatan na, i mean exposed na yung brown husk, pede na ba yun marketman?

    and thanks sa input ni virgilio about kahlrobi, madalas kong makita yan sa market pero no idea kung ano sya talga, try ko siya sa tinola…. thanks ulit :)

    Aug 22, 2005 | 7:11 pm

  20. Marketman says:


    It has to be fresh buko… maybe you can get it frozen buko meat in Asian stores? But what makes this really good is the addition of the fresh buko water and meat.

    Aug 23, 2005 | 1:30 pm

  21. edee says:

    i was afraid you’ll gonna say that marketman :(

    anyways, i’ll post this sa bahay para may variation naman tinola nila, at pag uwi ko ng pinas eh maipaluto ko :)

    salamat ulit…..

    Aug 23, 2005 | 9:48 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    Walang anuman… I hope you can try this recipe the next time you are home!

    Aug 24, 2005 | 6:55 am

  23. dan says:

    Where is the word “binakol” came from? and where particular part of the Philippines it was originated?

    Dec 14, 2007 | 11:54 am

  24. jorp says:

    WYATT BELMONTE has a good background info about chicken binakol


    Dec 6, 2008 | 1:35 am

  25. Cocoy Ventura says:

    What a unique recipe! I’m itching to try. Thank you for sharing. Cocoy

    Dec 17, 2008 | 9:38 am

  26. iyoy says:

    was going through the archives and ran across jorp’s link to wyatt belmnonte. am native of aklan where binakoe (binakol to ilongos) is a special dish (probably because of the skill needed in cooking it). cut up young native chicken, preferably dumalaga, Cram inside green bamboo tube (bottom node intact)with lots of chopped onions and slivers of ginger. add barely a cup of water (no coconut water or buko meat). cut a clump of tanglad close to the roots, twist it as if making wrist-thick rope, bend the “rope” in the middle, and plug it into the open end of the bamboo tube. stand the tube outside circle of burning coals (the top leaning on the side of the pot where one is making “inin” to the rice). rotate the tube once to make sure it does not get burned (the bamboo tube can stand some scorching). this is where experience comes in. too far from the coal and the chicken will take forever to get cooked; too near and the container turns into cinder. after about three hours, deliver the whole thing to the table, remove the tanglad plug and pour the contents into a bowl. the aroma will flood the room. the chicken pieces, bathed in the fragrant soup, goes well with newly harvested rice. the commercially prepared binakoe in kalibo is coooked in an iron pot with slats of green bamboo thrown in to impart the distinctive flavor but will do as an introduction to the dish.

    Dec 31, 2008 | 8:30 pm

  27. Dyann says:

    I am completely utterless right now, my mates and I had been preparing to make a thesis on this kind of product. And I’m just…really…speechless…and this was posted year 2005… Now I don’t know what to do…I don’t know if I’m still gonna pursue or go on with the study, or….really speechless…c”,

    Jul 15, 2009 | 4:30 pm

  28. Marketman says:

    Dyann, binakol na manok recipes have been around for many, many decades.

    Jul 15, 2009 | 4:40 pm

  29. Maita Nolledo says:

    I substituted kaffir for the lemongrass and it turned out tasting a bit like tom yum. It was good though!

    Aug 6, 2009 | 3:30 pm


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