Tinola a la Mhai-Mhai & Victor


With practically a whole basket worth of malunggay, green papaya, tanglad, etc., the natural next step is almost certainly to look for a chicken… and preferably a nice tasty native chicken. Back at the office, Mhai-Mhai and Victor, two of the office staff, cooked up one of the finest tinolas I have had in years. It was brilliant in its simplicity, superbly flavored because of the freshness of the ingredients and a perfect way to use the bounty of vegetables we had acquired roadside minutes earlier…

They bought a cleaned native chicken on the way back to the office, then chopped it up and boiled it in a pot with a large amount of lemongrass that was tied into a bundle, some ginger and salt. Skim the scum from the surface of the boiling water. When the chicken is cooked and tender and the broth flavorful (say 30 minutes, depending on the toughness of the native fowl), add sliced green papaya and a few minutes later, malunggay leaves and shut the heat off. Serve hot with steamed rice. It sounds so simple, but the purity of the flavors was stunningly good. Stunningly good. Tasty, healthy, economical and easy. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Here is a previous recipe for tinola that I featured a while back…


36 Responses

  1. we usually “sangkutcha” ung chicken sa luya, bawang, sibuyas and patis…before adding the papaya(or sayote) and hugas-bigas.

    new approach, new things to try. =)

  2. Try putting some lemongrass. For a whole chicken around 3 stalks. Tried it at a salo-salo in Bulacan a few months ago. Yummiest tinola I’ve tasted so far.

  3. For lunch today, my mom came up with a hodge-podge chicken tinola soup with mix greens of pechay,cabbage,celery leaves and stalk, plus chunks of kalabasa in lieu of green papaya. It tasted really good! I think its her version of experimenting on “Sinabawang Gulay” without using the very salty Knorr Pork cubes as flavoring or even fresh pork broth. Mom was kinda wary of cooking pork these days, after recent news of of pig cholera outbreak in Bulacan. Do you think its that serious, MM?
    Anyhow, adding Tanglad to the tinola is a fresh idea for me! Thanks for the tip.

  4. MM, one glance at the photo…and I was practically drooling over the keyboards…. at that very moment, i missed my grandma (she’s long gone) and her cooking… big time! You’re right…it doesn’t get any better than that.

  5. Wow! That look really yummy! Soup so clear and grees so green… Now, if I could only scratch the monitor like a scratch-n-sniff sticker….

  6. hay, I can eat a whole planggana of tinola. it’s my favorite dish aside from sinigang na baboy sa sampaloc. I eat it with calamansi/sili/patis na sawsawan.

  7. the tastiest and most memorable tinola i’ve ever had was made by my mother-in-law……all the ingredients was from her garden, the ginger, malunngay, papaya,and even the chicken!…..i can still taste it till now…..mmmmmmm…yummy!

  8. I do love tinola but the only thing i dont eat in it is the chicken. . . hehe . . . don’t know why. . . the soup and veggies plus rice is satisfying for me. . . papaya or sayote, mallunggay or dahon ng sili with a tasty gingery and lemon grass flavorful soup. . . .mmmmmmmmmm I think i could eat five servings. . .

  9. Bring out the patis and sawsawan! It’s summer over here right now. I will wait for the fall to make this. This soup would be perfect as the weather starts to get colder…Sayang, I do not know where to get native chicken over here…

  10. Yum Yum! I am staying in a hotel in Manila for work and i would love to have good tinola. I am going to have some tomorrow! Reminds of the tinola I had in Bantayan Island.

  11. Pleases the eyes and warms the bones.
    Sight and smell of summer for the winter weary soul.

  12. wil-b, same here! i love the soup and the veggies but i never eat the chicken in tinola. i know why..it started in high school biology class. i realized the skinned frogs we had in formalin looked very much like dressed chicken, so… but i do not know why it is only chicken in tinola that i do not eat.

  13. I miss tinola! This is exactly how we cook our tinola na manok in Bacolod – very healthy kasi walang gisa gisa. Need to find frozen malunggay in Chinatown this afternoon.

  14. I love chicken tinola with either chile leaves or malunggay with sauteed bagoong and kalamansi sawsawan.

  15. Looking at the picture is making me “drool”! Mukhang masarap . . . . . which I’m sure it is!! It’s a bit gloomy in the Bay Area right now so I sure could use a bowl of this for lunch or even now. I don’t know what “tanglad” is but I’ll have to look it up. I’ll start using malunggay leaves instead of bokchoy and green papayas instead of choyate next time I make the tinola. Cheers!

  16. This is the same way I cook tinolang manok. I love it with papaya although other people prefers sayote. You could also use dahon ng sili if malunggay is not available. The tanglad is what makes it stunningly good.

  17. I just asked my nanay to send me dried malunggay leaves last week. There’s no substitute to the unique taste of malunggay in tinola. Haven’t tried frozen malunggay yet, by just looking at it, I prefer the dried ones.

  18. After you’ve had tinola with a native chicken, a dressed supermarket variety one is just never good enough…

  19. the very first thing I did when I goe back here in France was to call a friend to cook for me any Filipino food…. she rang me up Sha come for tinola..that really made my day native or not….

  20. MM, have you ever wondered how many lunches, dinners, desserts and meriendas you have influenced in the past months? I wonder how many readers actually read your entries, go to the market, and then go home and cook something that they read from your blog. I know it happened to me once before with the alimango and sotanghon post. Thanks for the inspiration!

    I think I will have tinola sometime this weekend….

  21. Was down with intestinal flu for several days and the first thing is I asked for as soon as I was off my “soft” diet was tinolang manok with chicken liver and patis with sili on the side. Yum!

    Maria, tanglad is lemon grass. Try looking for it in Asian stores.

  22. Duh!!! I do use the lemon grass when I make this Vietnamese chicken dish. Thanks Blackpearl! Hindi ko alam kasi I don’t “really” cook and I don’t know too many “veggie” names in Tagalog. It’s true though . . . Market Man’s blog “encourages” me to want to cook! :-) – Maria (a.k.a. tulipfleurs) BTW… hope you’re feeling much better. MM – – I’d like to piggy back off from acmr’s comment to thank you too for the inspiration!

  23. Anybody heard of sangig? Is it a kind of wild oregano? Our utan manok usually has luy-a tanglad and sangig besides the obligatory kamunggay.

  24. I usually cook tinola with ginger, onions, papaya, and dahon ng sili. For a change, I’m going to try it with tanglad this time. Thanks MM for that wonderful recipe.

  25. I haven’t eaten one with malunggay… hmmm… i should try next time I’m in the Philippines.

  26. That’s exactly how my Lola cook tinola, I remember when she usually was the one who butcher the chicken, save the blood which dripped out of the chicken’s neck in a plate with little grain of rice and later mix it with the tinola soup. Hmmm. . . I
    miss her tinola and of course my Lola too.

  27. i love tinola!

    oh, does anyone know what malunggay is in English and if they have it in other countries? my cousin in the US just had a baby and is having trouble nursing. i recommended tinola w/ malunggay, but she can’t find any there.

  28. oh speaking of tinola… i just made tinola with malunggay and sayote for my husband and daughter this morning before i went to work….

    try asian/chinese grocery or even filipino store, you can find them in the “frozen section”; they come in this square-clear packaging, so u can see through the actual leaves although it’s frozen! hope that helps…

  29. Oh my, this is how my mom would make her tinola, except she sautees the chicken with some oil and the tanglad. What with the abundance of native chickens which she raised, the malunggay trees along the fence, a bush of tanglad grown right next to the duhat tree and the papayas bearing green fruits in some part of the yard, you could truly say the best things in life are free.
    The only part I didn’t like is when she would ask me or my sister to slaughter one of the chicken, I would always be the one crying especially when big sis slits that chicken’s throat. Raised for food or not, I still think them chickens were pets. LOL.
    But yeah, this brings backs so much memories. Also mom would add some young leaves of a siling labuyo, which she also have growing in the yard. When I grow old I will be like my mom, have fruits and vegetable garden growing in the yard. I’m not sure about the chickens though, I think the neighbors wont’ like that. LOL.

  30. Annette, u made me crave for the chicken blood in tinola!!!! Childhood food!!!! Aaaarrrggghh! (I don’t want to have to kill a native chicken to get the blood! Waaah, what am I going to do?)

    BTW, did you guys know that there is a vendor in Salcedo Market that sells the unhatched eggs of native chickens? For those who grew up eating these, go na this Saturday. Yummy in nilaga/tinola/adobo na manok!

  31. I made this last night :)

    The only things bought were the ginger and the salt. Everything else was picked from my farm in clay pots…including of course my chicken.

    Now I am dreaming of that homemade Tiramisu. argghhhhh



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