05 Apr2006


Tinolang manok is on the top 10 list of Marketman comfort foods. Simple, soothing and delicious. Everyone has their version and ours is really easy. First saute some large slices of ginger and large slices of onion in some vegetable oil. Add chicken pieces (native has more flavor, supermarket has more meat…) and brown slightly, taking care not to burn the ginger and onions. Then add a little patis (fish sauce), enough water or rice washings to cover the chicken and simmer until the chicken is just cooked. Some folks add a knorr chicken cube to increase the flavor of the broth…I can go either way on this shortcut. Then add some peeled and sliced green papaya and chilli (sili) leaves until just cooked.

Serve hot and with lots of steamed rice. We must atin2have kalamansi (calamondin) and patis (fish sauce) on the side for this dish. The chicken flavor is enhanced by the sweetish papaya and the dark green chilli leaves. Some say the papain in the papaya tenderizes the chicken but I don’t leave the papaya in for that long so I’m not sure that helps in my version. At any rate, this is one of our family’s all time favorites. We have it at least twice a month! Others like garlic in their versions, some add black or white pepper as well.



  1. Lizzie says:

    Yummy MM! I can’t find dahong sili in Boston nor kalamansi for sawsawan, so I’m using spinach and lemon instead. Masarap pa rin. Great photo! Pang magazine ang dating. Keep it up!

    Apr 5, 2006 | 4:50 am


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  3. linda says:

    This is one of my family’s favourite dish but,my daughter loves it better with chokoes (chayote)instead of papaya and lots of calamansi and patis on the side.For anyone who can’t find calamansi, you can buy syrup or powdered calamansi in your pinoy store or if you’re desperate lemon juice will suffice.

    Apr 5, 2006 | 7:54 am

  4. shirley says:

    I also use “chayote” and spinach in my tinola because i seldom find green papaya and dahong sili being sold in markets here. They usually sell ripe papayas which is not appropriate anymore for a tinola. That was a yummy picture Mr.MM…

    Apr 5, 2006 | 8:21 am

  5. Rampau says:

    No sili leaves in LA! Yikes! Also in Malabon my Mom uses native pipino. That I miss since there’s no such thing here. I made the mistake of buying the chinese brown chicken, boy was that tough and no meat! And the broth had a funky smell we cant eat it. In Ilocos according to my friend, they tie up the chicken 1 month before cooking it to take care of that smell. In other words they can’t be eating anything off the ground.

    Apr 5, 2006 | 8:21 am

  6. kamijima says:

    Native chicken tinola is the best. Paborito ni Sir EMMAN C. Galat ng Paranaque,na suki din ng Market Manila. Keep it up MM!

    Apr 5, 2006 | 11:02 am

  7. frayed says:

    As far as comfort food goes, tinolang manok and sinigang are at the top of my list. Yes, you cannot have tinolang manok without the patis and calamansi on the side. My condolences to those abroad.

    Apr 5, 2006 | 11:45 am

  8. Tina Ledesma says:

    Tinolang manok is really an all time comfort food. In my household version of Tinolang Manok, seldom do we use dahon ng sili. Instead we use malunggay and, of course, the green papaya. I am just lucky that here in Sopranoland, we can have sili leaves, malunggay and green papaya from the nearby Pinoy store.

    Apr 5, 2006 | 12:40 pm

  9. edee says:

    mmmmm….tinola…..instead of papaya (which isn’t available unripe here) or sayote …..i now use kohlrabi (not so sure about the spelling) as one of the readers here suggested in ealier post :) …. and i don’t put any more spinach, the last time i did, i overdid it and it didn’t taste like tinola anymore…….for calamansi, i just use lime……

    Apr 5, 2006 | 7:32 pm

  10. kulasa says:

    This looks so yummy. I have my calamansi and patis sawsawan too but I put mashed chicken liver in it. It started when we were kids, fighting over chicken liver so mom decided to mash it so we can each have a share. My sawsawan for tinola and nilagang manok. You should try it sometime.

    Apr 5, 2006 | 8:39 pm

  11. stef says:

    wow, looks like everyone’s doing tinola these days. i just came from kai’s blog and now i’m positively drooling. tamang-tama i’ve got a sicky little one, time for some “chicken soup and rice” (this is what they call tinola, after the maurice sendak book).

    Apr 5, 2006 | 11:08 pm

  12. marian says:

    well, with our family, we use potatoes instead of papaya or sayote. it is because madaling mapanis yung mga yun, unlike with potatoes. it truly is nice to have some tinola on rainy days.

    Apr 6, 2006 | 1:19 am

  13. fried-neurons says:

    I love tinola!

    Can you suggest a substitute for dahon ng sili that we can use here in California? My mom uses spinach but it’s not the same…


    Apr 6, 2006 | 1:47 am

  14. Marketman says:

    I once had a reader from Austria who suggested that paprika leaves works well if you can find them in the markets there…

    Apr 6, 2006 | 9:18 am

  15. trishlovesbread says:

    I’ve tried using kale instead of the much missed sili leaves, and the tinola tasted better than when I used spinach. I think spinach has too much of its own flavor unlike the more neutral tasting kale.

    Apr 6, 2006 | 11:24 am

  16. Gigi says:

    In our home, “buto-buto” or pork ribs was what was used as the star for our tinola. Super yummy and I didn’t know any other way. I like it better than chicken. I love dahon ng sili and specially fish it out of the pot when I scoop for broth. Try it, MM! :)

    Apr 6, 2006 | 3:01 pm

  17. iska says:

    that’s exactly how my mom cooks tinola, MM. But here in beijing, no unripe papayas and chayote so i use potatoes instead. not my idea though. got it from a colleague but still yummy!

    Apr 6, 2006 | 7:52 pm

  18. Lizzie says:


    This is regarding your previous post; utan. I found the English name of alugbati. It’s Malabar Spinach!

    Apr 6, 2006 | 8:42 pm

  19. noemi says:

    YOu can also use bitter melon leaves. For us ilocana, we use malunggay or amplaya leaves.

    Apr 7, 2006 | 12:14 am

  20. peng says:

    I use petchay (boi choy) which is widely available in stores everywhere nowadays and chayote. I think the key ingredient in tinola is the ginger and whatever variation you make it will more or less taste as tinola. We filipino are very innovative when it comes to foods. We could always find a subtitutes to our original ingredients and sometimes it taste better than we expected.

    Apr 7, 2006 | 2:48 am

  21. stefoodie says:

    there really is no substitute for sili leaves though. paprika leaves are also from the pepper family — paprika being a capsicum cultivar (if anyone wants seeds, let me know, i have a few left). you can find some other herbs that have a peppery quality to their leaves, but they won’t be exactly the same — some examples would be summer savory, some varieties of cress, or even arugula. esp. grown in hot weather, arugula can grow peppery right quick! — i learned this the hard way. it became totally unsuitable for a salad, but it did give a nice touch to my tinola — not the exact flavor i was looking for, but tasty nonetheless. spinach is always my go-to solution when desperate:)

    Apr 7, 2006 | 3:09 am

  22. philip says:

    to: Iska

    Chayote is actually available in china, here in fujian that is. But I think the vegetable is seasonal, usually appears in spring time. It’s usually wrapped in thos styro-nets that they use to prevent bruising in fruits. Good luck.

    Apr 7, 2006 | 2:55 pm

  23. iska says:

    to: philip
    hi! once I bought chayote here that was few years ago. tagal na ano? hehehe so i guess it is seasonal. i hope i would finally find them in the market now that winter is over. and thanks for the info :)

    Apr 7, 2006 | 4:55 pm

  24. Bay_leaf says:

    now that’s what i call food for the soul! :)

    Apr 7, 2006 | 6:55 pm

  25. Lani says:

    I use potatoes and chayote for my tinola, not that green papaya is not available in Pinas, but my son loves potatoes and chayote than papaya. Instead of the leaves, you can also use the sili.

    Apr 8, 2006 | 9:59 am

  26. Carina says:

    yum, one of my faves. malunggay can also be used instead of dahon ng sili, or sayote for papaya. the best pa pag native yung chicken.

    Apr 8, 2006 | 11:02 am

  27. mae says:

    I’m drooling over the photos! I too love chicken tinola and have it on my list of comfort food. Oh, yum! What is papain?

    Apr 10, 2006 | 7:15 am

  28. Wilson Cariaga says:

    you’re right MM, but i have something with chicken in tinola that’s why i only eat the papaya and sili or other greens plus the sabaw with rice, i don’t kow why i rarely eat the chicken in this dish. . .

    Apr 10, 2006 | 7:37 am

  29. Marketman says:

    Mae, papain is the chemical? ingredient in papaya that tenderizes meats, etc. Wilson, do you eat chicken in other dishes?

    Apr 10, 2006 | 8:32 am

  30. Wilson Cariaga says:

    yes and I do like Hainanese chicken which is somewhat similar to tinola, and also like chix tandoori or even fried and roasted but I don’t know why I don’t like chicken in tinola. weird, I know. . . hehe

    Apr 10, 2006 | 8:32 pm

  31. annesqui says:

    This is for the sawsawan, for you expats and those who don’t have calamansi… maybe sometime you can ask the folks back home (back here) to send you some Knorr Sinigang sa Calamansi. A pinch of this powder/mix is enough to flavor your patis!

    Apr 13, 2006 | 2:41 pm

  32. goodtimer says:

    Tinola’s best using native chicken (“Tagalog”) that’s “itlugan”, with those yellow egg sacs clumped together (from a female chicken just about to lay her eggs??). I tried this too in Cafe by the Ruins in Baguio, they cooked it with pinikpikan chicken (native chicken slowly beaten to death then smoked, hence the tinola had a smoky flavor). I remember when I was a kid our cook made tinola with the chicken blood mixed with rice. We’d make sauce from the cooked liver that’s mashed and squeezed with calamansi and patis.

    Apr 14, 2006 | 4:06 am

  33. Romey says:

    Yum-O!!!! I think I’ll make this on the weekend :) Too bad we don’t have green papayas in colorado :(

    May 13, 2006 | 1:36 am

  34. ping says:

    there is indeed green papaya in LA i just bought it in island pacific

    May 4, 2007 | 4:42 am

  35. Mary-Ann Evangelista says:

    If there’s no fresh pepper leaves available, I go to my dad’s and pick some ampalaya leaves. I also cook with what’s available in the market and it’s usually sayote/chayote.
    I’ve tasted kale with ground pork and coconut milk (ala-laing)
    I’ll try it next time for tinola, cuz it sounds good.
    I still miss fresh malunggay leaves.

    Jul 28, 2007 | 10:59 am

  36. dragon says:

    Hi MM, seems the traditional sawsawan is patis and calamansi. Never tried it but with my tinola, my dipping sauce is always knorr with crushed sili. Will try to add calamansi next time. Dunno about patis tho…

    May 4, 2008 | 7:07 am

  37. neeru says:

    Looks yemmy. I did not know that chilli leaves are edible. What are the benefits of chilli leaves?

    Aug 3, 2008 | 2:37 am

  38. farrah says:

    i remember having tinola when it’s rainy and when someone at home has colds…btw, just wondering MM if you’ve got some kins in Batangas… it’s only in Lian, where my husband’s family is from, that I hear folks call calamansi as kalamonding :)

    Aug 13, 2008 | 5:37 pm

  39. Marketman says:

    farrah, I am not from Batangas, but we do go there frequently. Calamondin is the English name for kalamansi. I have a post on it in the archives.

    Aug 13, 2008 | 5:55 pm

  40. Mimi says:

    I grew my own sili plant just to make leaves for tinola and ginisang monggo. Add a bruised stalk of tanglad/ lemongrass to tinolang manok and it brings out the taste of the broth.

    Dec 2, 2008 | 4:42 pm

  41. Quincy says:

    I think real lime juice form the bottle or the fruit is a closer replacement for kalamansi. This may very well be my favorite dish from the Philippines, next to Bicol Express w/ lemon grass.

    Jan 3, 2009 | 4:32 pm

  42. luscious says:

    hi. does anyone know wat i can use instead of dahon ng sili? my husband said they dont have it here. i really miss filipino food.

    Jan 23, 2009 | 2:03 am


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