My Tinola — A Filipino Chicken Ginger Soup with a ZING!


If Sinigang (Tamarind Soup) is the king of Filipino soups, then surely the Tinola is the queen. Prized for its delicate broth, the Tinolang Manok (Chicken Ginger Soup) garners accolades from the rich umami and comforting flavors inherent at every sip. It’s been touted as a cure-all soup and often prepared for the sick and especially on cold and rainy weather.

It has been raining all morning, and I didn’t want to drive out to an Asian grocery store, so I found these ingredients at my nearby supermarket. This recipe is adapted from my Lola’s recipe which uses more native ingredients. The substitutions I made are as follows:

Spinach = Malungay leaves or Pepper leaves
Chayote= Green Papaya
Whole Chicken= 6 chicken thighs, skinless
Broth from 1 whole chicken= 1 Quart of Organic Chicken Broth

I will be posting the Tinolang Manok recipe at another time as it obviously requires the other native ingredients as well as making the chicken broth from scratch.

Health Benefits:
Ginger: I love this spice for its fragrance and unique flavor it imparts to any meal. By itself as a tea, ginger has been used as an anti-nausea to treat upset stomach in chemo and morning sickness.
Chayote: I wish this squash is sold more in other groceries. It cooks well in soups and stews. Rich in folates, it also has dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins to make it a well-rounded vegetable additive.

Tinola--Filipino Chicken Ginger Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Queen of Filipino soups-- an easy recipe perfect for a rainy day.



  • 6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh ginger (use 1/3 cup for extra ZING!)
  • 1 medium size onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoon of Fish Sauce
  • 1 Quart of Organic Chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon of Himalayan Salt (or Kosher Salt)
  • 1-2 teaspoon ground black peppercorn
  • 1 pinch of Spanish Saffron
  • 1 Chayote, cut in cubes or chunks
  • 1 bunch of Spinach
  • 2 Serrano peppers


1. Turn on the stove at medium heat and place a soup casserole pan. Drizzle with the vegetable oil.
2. Saute the garlic until golden brown, do not burn as will be bitter. Toss in together the onion and ginger, continue to saute until the diced onion becomes translucent.
2. Add the chicken and stir them in with the “Filipino mirepoix”. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side with some browning at the corners of the meat. Meanwhile, Place the chicken broth in a medium-size bowl and warm in the microwave. When the chicken is opaque, add the broth. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Once the chicken is tender, add chayote cubes. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper. Add the saffron. Simmer for 5-8 minutes depending on size (smaller cubes cook faster). Cook chayote al dente, until the fork, pierces with some effort.
4. Add the Serrano pepper if using and Spinach. Simmer until the spinach wilts but vibrant green.
5. Serve in bowls accompanied with Jasmine rice.

Cooking Notes:
Filipino Mirepoix: Ginger, onion, and garlic. Julienne the ginger and finely dice the onions and garlic. Start by browning the garlic, ensure not to get them burnt at they will impart a bitter aftertaste.20190302_170055-01.jpeg


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