Tinola in Tagalog or Visayan, or la uya in Ilocano is a soup-based dish served as an appetizer or main entrée in the Philippines.
Traditionally, this dish is cooked with chicken, wedges of green papaya, and leaves of the siling labuyo chilli pepper in broth flavoured with ginger, onions and fish sauce. A common variant substitutes fish or pork for chicken, choko (chayote) instead of papaya, or with tomatoes and morinuga leaves known as marungay or malunggay or kamunggay (in Cebuano), instead of pepper leaves. However, an all-vegetable broth in Cebu with kamunggay in prominence is called utan kamunggay or utan bisayâ, while it is called law-oy in Mindanao and laswa in Hiligaynon. Another variation is Tinolang Tahong, a soup made with mussels, ginger, onion, garlic and bird’s eye chilli.
The exact origins of Tinola is obscure. One of the earliest mentions of the dish is in José Rizal’s first novel, Noli Me Tangere, where Kapitan Tiago served it to Crisostomo Ibarra upon arriving from Europe. He was given the breast, to the dismay of the corrupt Spanish friar, Padre Damaso, who got chicken neck, which is considered to be the least favoured chicken part.
- 1 kg chicken pieces
- 5 cm knob fresh ginger, peeled and crushed
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1½ tablespoons fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, bruised with the flat of a knife
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-5 cups green papaya, cut into 5cm chunks
- 1-2 cups pepper leaves or spinach
- Heat the oil in a 6 litre saucepan over medium heat; add garlic and ginger. Cook till fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add fish sauce and chicken thighs, raise heat to medium high and cook 5 minutes.
- Add enough water to cover chicken by 3 cm. Add bay leaf, peppercorns and lemongrass. Bring slowly to a boil and simmer 45 minutes.
- Add green papaya and pepper or spinach leaves; simmer 20 minutes or until papaya is tender — don’t overcook till mushy.
- Adjust seasoning and serve.
- Enjoy ladled over white rice with a side of achara (green papaya salad).