22 Nov2009


Sometimes you just feel like a bowl of chicken soup. Something simple, familiar, restorative. In this case a basic tinola, perhaps with a bit of patis or fish sauce thrown in. Some chili leaves and green papaya. And with some chopped banana buds or “heart” added to get a slightly different overall flavor, a bit of textural highlight and just another variation on a very classic taste for a Filipino diner…


This is the type of cooking that is driven by what’s sitting around the kitchen or refrigerator, or what is available in the backyard. No fancy recipes, no exact measurements. Best made with a stringy, flavorful native chicken. Perfect for a lazy Sunday dinner, particularly in one of the cooler “ber” months when a soup just seems so incredibly right…



  1. izang says:

    we usually add sotanghon (vermicelli) to this dish…and lots of ginger…..this is one meal i look for when i am sick…..

    Nov 22, 2009 | 9:39 am


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  3. betty q. says:

    My MIL makes something like this. My husband grew up on that soup and when I became the daughter-in-law, I also loved this soup somuch that when I gave birth to my oldest son, she made this and hubby brought it to the hospital. Only variation she does is add RAW PEANUTSand Black fungus mushroom (tenga ng daga?) and boils it to death….comfort food!

    Nov 22, 2009 | 9:47 am

  4. Vicky Go says:

    What makes “tinola” different from plain boiled chicken, even if using the same veggies? I thought it’s because they put ginger in “tinola” or maybe that’s just a “Tagalog” thing.
    And what’s the difference between “pinais” & “sinuam”; between “pinaksiw” & “pinangat”?

    BTW – there are two relatively new smaller restos in NYC – “Kuma Inn” in the lower East Side & “Umi Nom” in Brooklyn, De Kalb Ave close to Williamsburg section. Both run by a Thai chef whose mother is Filipina & both positively reviewed by Ligaya Mishan of NYT’s Dining for $25 or Less.

    And Amy Besa & Romy Dorotan formerly of Cendrillon have moved from SoHo to Ditmas Park, Brooklyn – their new establishment is called “Purple Yam”.

    Nov 22, 2009 | 9:59 am

  5. el_jefe says:

    SARAP!!! Tiempo ang recipe na ito …lalo pa ngayon at umulan -ulan dito sa Los Banos…We usually add puso ng saging in sinigang na baboy or sinigang na bangus at ulang…resulting to a milky soup…some old timers call it ”sinaunang luto” because such style of cooking is very rare nowadays.

    There are two types of ”puso ng saging” in the market…”Puso ng saging na saba” and ”Alinsanay”
    Saba puso is the common big red puso while alinsanay is the elongated white variety…we prefer using alinsanay because it retains its color even when exposed to air or cooked.
    MM… I suspect you used the ”alinsanay” variety for for your chicken soup recipe…

    Puso ng saging is really versatile…it can be used as extenders for burger patties, cooked as kilawin with sotanghon, as ”laksa” with pumpkins and stringbeans, some Tagalog region towns uses puso ng saging to extend their dinuguan…paksiw na bangus…bulanlang with paayap and squash flowers…kulawo or minanok in paete, laguna.
    When I was young I enjoyed boiled alinsanay dipped in fresh ”bagoong alamang” squeezed with dayap…and sinaing na tulingan…mmmm..yummy! hehe!

    MM …I would like to share my Puso ng saging KULAWO recipe: Hope you make an ”Alta Cocinaversion of Kulawo ” ala MM one day.

    KULAWO=a vegetable ( puso or eggplant) kinilaw with coconut milk, the dish is very popular in the coconut growing town of San Pablo.


    Puso ng Saging chopped preferably alinsanay boiled in salt or (broiled eggplant)
    minced onion
    minced garlic
    minced ginger
    1-2 tbs sugar
    sili pansigang chopped
    sili labuyo
    black pepper
    vinegar preferably coco tuba vinegar
    1 pc dayap
    2 cups gata from 2 grilled and grated coconut

    *Grilling the coconut: option 1(sinauna technique)=grate the coconut and grill using clean , hot, glowing stones
    option 2=grill the split nuts over hot coals then grate
    option 3=brown the grated coconut in the oven, however
    smoky flavor will not be achieved using this method
    *add 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup water to the grilled grated coconut=2 cups kakang gata
    *in a mixing bowl add the boiled and drained ”puso” with onions garlic, salt patis, ginger,labuyo , sili pansigang,black pepper, sugar, kakang gata and dayap juice…adjust to taste

    Kulawo is best paired with grilled fish like Hito or Tilapia…Best with Sinaing na Tulingan too!

    Nov 22, 2009 | 12:09 pm

  6. kakusina says:

    I’ve had kulawo in Laguna, but our host used grilled talong and added steamed fresh water shrimp. Smoky flavor really goes well with the sweetness of gata and spices. Love sinaing na tulingan but it takes 8 hours to cook!

    Nov 22, 2009 | 12:34 pm

  7. Betchay says:

    Love Tinola but never had puso ng saging in it.Like El jefe, we add it to sinigang particularly sinigang na bangus.But the best and my all time fave is the Pancit sa Puso!It’s like a bihon guisado but instead of toyo, achuete is used to color it with lots of chicharon toppings and the paasim is not Calamansi/lemon but kilawin na puso ng saging!Yummy!

    Nov 22, 2009 | 2:43 pm

  8. Lava Bien says:

    Tinola, very Filipino, even the name Tinola is very Filipino( I could be wrong – but I doubt it) not Spanish or anything else unlike adobo (very spanish, just go to Puerto Rico or most hispanohablante countries – I’ve been to almost all). They just call it adobado – the result of adobar – to adobo hehehehe.

    Tinola is tinola…. simple and easy enough to make.

    It’s The Best Chicken Soup period!!! hehehehe (imo) my boys love it with extra ginger. Sometimes I mix chicken with some turkey leg thighs or wings and mix green papaya with some chayote (yes we do have green papaya here in the Yay Area), man it’s a killer! Gotta try Quail Tinola though, next time.

    Perfect soup anytime, my #2 soup after Pho.

    Nov 22, 2009 | 3:03 pm

  9. el_jefe says:

    Kakusina…try kulawong puso its way better than kulawong talong…but i love kulawong talong too…yes..the best sinaing na tulingan is cooked for hours…mala ”sardinas” pati tinik malambot…niluto sa uling at palayok na itim ang gamit…I suggest you also try sinaing na tawilis and pinais na dulong sa dahon ng kulis…I really love sinaing …Batangas style! D’ Best!
    Betchay…I’ve had pancit na puso and bihon in Bataan…I liked it…nice idea…masarap nun nga madaming chicharon at paminta at maasim asim…samin naman we use sotanghon instead of bihon…and we aslo add lots of young garlic shoots and bulbs…Sarap! Perhaps puso ng saging would also go well with Pad Thai…

    Nov 22, 2009 | 3:09 pm

  10. Lava Bien says:

    @ el jefe – you gotta try “sinugno” of Lucban/Tayabas area (Quezon Prov). They charcoal grill the tilapia of fish first, then cook it with “gata”, “pako” or edible fern tips can also be added, I’m not sure what exactly they put in it, but man, it’s hella good.

    They serve it best at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan, Andrew Zimmern of Anrew Zimmern’s Bizaare World but the shots did’nt make it to the travel show itself (good enough to be visited and considered though)

    Nov 22, 2009 | 3:09 pm

  11. det says:

    manok na tinola with lots of ginger and tanglad na may green papaya is what i had a couple of days ago kasi am down with flu .had my flu shot last sept before i went home to pinas but i guess this is a different strain of bug i have.marami na kasin strain including H1N1.any way am feeling better now and should say chicken soup is the best.

    Nov 22, 2009 | 5:54 pm

  12. el_jefe says:

    Lava Bien….the dish is actually indigenous to our region…actually grilled Catfish in coconut milk is better than Tilapia version of Sinugno…fiddle head ferns or pako can be added …mustard leaves are also used in place of pako…if fern is not in season…You know what… I think the secret is in the ”paggagata” the ”kakang gata” is extracted without adding water…while the ”segunda gata” is added with 2 cups of water…through out southern tagalog region the practice is always..2 or more coconuts per dish of ginataan…we never use less than 2 coconuts…You should also try the ”ginataang manok na tagalog” of lucban…they add turmeric and wild ”kamamba” leaves which are very fragrant….the smell is somewhat near to oregano and rosemary…

    Nov 22, 2009 | 6:00 pm

  13. Lava Bien says:

    @el_jefe. Wow! Thanks. My mom’s dad is from Lucban and I’m actually very familiar with that area, but never had or heard the “ginataang manok na tagalog” , wow! I’d try it next time we visit, early next year, hopefully before the election – it’s like fiesta every night during election time hehehehehe.

    I’m also familiar (eating wise) with “kamamba”, I think they use ’em to cook “pinaais” if I remember correctly, some grated coconut with big fresh water shrimp wrapped with them leaves. ummmm. more rice please hehehhe.

    el_jefe, do you know what restaurant they serve the ginataang manok ( I love anything ginataan)? Thanks.

    Nov 22, 2009 | 6:52 pm

  14. millet says:

    tinola is my husband’s and my kids’
    comfort food, but i’ve never tried this with puso ng saging. will definitely try this soon.

    Nov 22, 2009 | 7:05 pm

  15. millet says:

    tinola is my husband’s and my kids’
    comfort food, but i’ve never tried this with puso ng saging. will definitely try this soon. i like puso ng saging on sinigang na bangus, too.

    Nov 22, 2009 | 7:05 pm

  16. Rosedmd says:

    I just love this
    kind of food, this is my Sunday food too! I call this pagkain ng tamad, bec u just let everyhing boil to heavenly tender chicken. I don’t use puso nor sili leaves. I use raddish,carrots, onions, peppercorns. Sometimes. I add those dumplings for hotpot& sayote tops or celery or spinach depends on my budget!

    Nov 22, 2009 | 7:13 pm

  17. el_jefe says:

    Lava Bien…so part lukbanin ka? I love lucban….the town is blessed with great physical beauty and beautiful people…”magaganda ang mga lukbanin” hehe!
    I think ”ginataang manok with kamamba” is also called ”adobo sa gata”…i dont think it is served in Buddy’s ( I hope fast foods like Mc Donalds and Jollibee wont put up stores in lucban… the food culture of lucban will die out if this happens) ..anyway…Try small restos around town…like ,…Mustiolas , Dealo, Abcede and small eateries. Yes you are right ”kamamba” is used as a wrapper for ”pinais na hipon at gumaan'(niyog na alangan)” …try mo din yung ”dinuguang manok na may niyadyad na papaya” i forgot the name of the dish hehe…Hardinera…etc…Mag pahanap kadin ng saging na ”Saksik”…these are tiny plantains that are best when boiled! Superb eating quality!!! Sabi nga ng taga Lukban………….. ”Ay yanu! Baling pagkasarap ay!!!!” Hehe!

    Nov 22, 2009 | 7:31 pm

  18. Lava Bien says:

    Yes I love Lucban too el_jefe. I make sure i stay there for at least a day or two whenever I visit. They have very good eats over there, fresh everything.
    I remember when Buddy’s was still serving their spaghetti under the stairways no pizza or pancit lucban yet, way before they got big. Very nice guy and family, all beautiful.

    God willing, we will be there anytime between March-May. Ginataang suso with ferns is one of the best food I’ve had over there (for me it’s better than the French escargot, I’m not kidding)

    Nov 22, 2009 | 9:07 pm

  19. Pilar says:

    MM, I love this with a lot of ginger and sotanghon. Comfort food for me.

    Bettyq, I only use raw peanuts in pork spareibs soup. Puwede pala sa chicken soup? Will try.

    Nov 22, 2009 | 9:09 pm

  20. el_jefe says:

    Lava Bien…yes I also love ginataang susong baragan with pako…though I also love it stewed in coconut milk,taro leaves and corms…have you tried ginataang ubod with shrimps? I also suggest you to try ginataang santol or inalamangan and the brown puto with lihiya…it really is good similar to batangas puto.
    Siguro yun tinola ni MM na may puso ng saging ay pwede din gawing sinampalukan style…with lots of crushed tamarind tops and sili pansigang!!! Yummy!!! When in lucban ask someone to cook ”sinigang na isda sa katmon” for you…although not that popular because its very rare nowadays…”katmon” fruits are used to sour sinigang…

    Nov 23, 2009 | 1:12 am

  21. betty q. says:

    Pilar: weather here is stew or soup time weather. Boneless beef short ribs is on sale. I was planning to make Korean or Vietnamese Beef Stew if I can find the right ingredients. I searched the archives for MM’s post on Korean Beef Stew. Do you have any idea what is the Chinese name for SIBHOT or SIBOT? Reading from the comments, I gathered it is some form of barks and the likes …could it be the ingredients to make 5 spice? At any rate, do you know the Chinese equivalent of the Sibot so I can ask the tindero at Chinatown.

    Nov 23, 2009 | 1:53 am

  22. aggy says:

    just made tinola this week, too bad we don’t have sili leaves here in chicago…

    Nov 23, 2009 | 6:18 am

  23. Pinaycook says:

    I’ve tried a Visayan dish very similar to this, ages ago. It was called Kinamunggaya & cooked with coconut milk, sliced banana heart, malunggay & lots of ginger. I would love to learn how to cook this.

    Nov 23, 2009 | 6:36 am

  24. bagito says:

    Mmm, seems like some of us are on a tinola roll since that’s what I cooked for lunch today, along with adobo. No, not to be eaten together but I cooked both today so that the adobo will taste better tomorrow. Hubby and I call it “the refrigerator effect” when something just tastes so much better a day or two after cooking since the flavors have had a chance to blend together while in the fridge.
    When I was a young girl and lived next door to my Lola’s house in Pampanga, they didn’t put the leftover ulam in the fridge (still amazes me to this day how the food didn’t spoil at all). They had a cabinet in the back of the kitchen with shelves but the cabinet doors were not really doors but screens. And to avoid ants crawling up the ulam, the bowls where they were stored would be on trivets submerged in about half an inch of water. Did anybody else have that growing up? I’m pretty sure it was common practice before the age of salmonella scares and super bacteria. :-) My lola has since passed on and the house remodelled. Unfortunately, my aunts didn’t see the need to have a “native refrigerator” anymore so it is yet just another fond memory for me. I know they had a term for it in Kapampangan but I just can’t remember right now. (sigh)

    Nov 23, 2009 | 6:51 am

  25. el_jefe says:

    Bagito…My lola in ”Batangas” also has this antique ”freeze free refrigerator”….When I was still a kid I would ask my aunts ”Bakit ganun ang prigider ni nanay hindi nalamig? ” they would laugh at me and answer ”ah ganun talaga hi tech yan eh”….We call it ”Paminggalan” or simply as ”Estante” in Batangas. And I call it ”Prigider na lokal” Hehe! My Lola also have several antique glazed brown clay jars called ”kam-aw” used in storing sauces, tapa, buro, kabasi etc…I think it is also used by Kapampangans to store food…my friend from Bulacan call it ”kamaw”.

    Nov 23, 2009 | 10:25 am

  26. Pilar says:

    Bettyq, sibut is 四物 in Chinese. Definitely, it’s not the ones used in 5 spice (五香). It contains chuan xiong (川芎), kam ki(枸杞) dong guai (當歸)and siok te. You can add more kam ki but not the other medicinal herbs since it’s quite bitter when you place more than what you need. Ask the tindero on the portions. Just let him know how much of the meat you’ll be using. I hope this helps. Happy cooking.

    mmmm….reminds me of the once famous beef stew stall in the food court of Makati Supermarket, now Landmark. yummy :-)

    Nov 23, 2009 | 10:33 pm

  27. Lava Bien says:

    Katmon hahahaaha el_jefe, almost forgot that fruit. I thought it was normally available everywhere when I was a kid. They have it good in Lucban, we are the kapampangan of Quezon ( though I like Lucban food way better, better longaniza, better pancit even though I don’t eat the former – no kosher pork hehehehe and the latter I have them cook it with chicken).

    Nov 23, 2009 | 10:55 pm

  28. el_jefe says:

    Haha..Lava Bien…”Kampampangans of Quezon”…I think there is no point of comparing lukbanins with capampangans…Both the Tagalogs and Capampangans have excellent culinary abilities and both ethnic groups have produced many talented cooks and chefs and bestowed numerous nouvelle dishes being enjoyed by the mainstream today…So pwede ko ba ding sabihin na ”Batangas is the Pampanga of the South”? Kasi smorgasbord at sing luho din ng Capampangan maghanda? Hwehehe!!! I hope neighbors in Southern Tagalog wont arch eyebrows upon reading this…haha! Pero I have nothing against Capampangans ..I am actually part Capampangan too…But honestly in all fairness to lucbanins magagaling at masarap nga naman talaga sila o rather kayo magluto…”kumbaga hindi lang sila ang magkakagusto sa luto nila …mga pati taga ibang bayan magugustuhan din at masasarapan sa lutong lucban.”

    Nov 24, 2009 | 8:41 am

  29. thelma says:

    bagito, you’ve got me thinking. the cabinet with screen door to store food
    is called banguera…

    Nov 24, 2009 | 11:37 pm

  30. psychomom says:

    bettyq i think you can get si-but at most chinese groceries pre-packaged. i know that when mom came over the last time she brought me some from ongpin already packed in plastic. suppose to boost immune system. can also add small piece of ginseng. can use pork bones, chicken (if you can get the black chicken available at chinese/asian groceries the better). usually you do not eat fruit or veggies or fish when you have this kind of soup as these food cancels the benefits of si-but.

    Nov 26, 2009 | 4:04 am

  31. Gay says:

    This is perfect for a rainy day, MM! Which seldom happens in Gensan.

    Nov 27, 2009 | 9:27 pm

  32. YRICK says:

    Me, what i missed, yung dinuguan na luto sa gata sa bikol…sobrang sarap….

    Feb 17, 2011 | 3:22 pm


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