Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup with Ginger)

So winter is finally here. Grey and wet. It’s greeted us rather unabashed. Ambushing us in the mornings, making it rather difficult to wake up because our bones are almost frozen solid, we can barely get out of bed. Might I add, it’s only the beginning of winter so it will only get colder from hereon.

On the upside of winter, I get to enjoy some of my favourite soup. During the lazy long weekend, the husband, little one, little one on the way and I enjoyed a much-loved Filipino traditional soup we call Tinola. For me, it’s a one pot dish but others may have a different method of preparing and cooking it. I call it my lazy soup, Throw everything in the pot, boil and Bob’s your uncle. My mum may not agree on my method, but then again, this is my lazy soup.

This is our chicken soup. I’ve read others use pork but mostly chicken is used. It has a very distinct asian flavour to it with the combination of ginger and fish sauce. A subtle hint of spice from the ginger and a little saltiness from the fish sauce.

Traditionally, the vegetables used in this soup are chili pepper leaves and green papaya. These vegetables are not commonly found here unless you scout for them in asian grocers, so the good substitutes I found to use are choy sum and chokoes or chayote. The chokoes or chayotes when cooked perfectly, just melts in the mouth, it acts like a sponge, soaking up all the flavour.

Perfect winter soup with the added health benefits of ginger.

Have a fantastic and safe weekend everyone.

1 kg chicken drummettes
1 bunch choy sum (washed and cut to preferred size)
1 large choko/chayote (peeled, seeded and wedged)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 clove of garlic (finely chopped or minced)
3 knobs of ginger (chopped or sliced)
2 .5 litres of water
3 Tbsp of fish sauce
1/4 to 1/2 tsp of ground pepper
3 chicken stock cubes

Fill large pot with about 2.5 litres of water (add a bit more water later if need be), set on stove top on high. Wash chicken and throw them into the pot of water and let it begin to boil (this could take about 10-15 mins). Skim all the fat that begin to surface. Once soup starts to look clear, add ginger, onions, garlic and stock cubes. Turn down heat to low to medium and let it simmer for about 5-8 minutes. Add fish sauce and choko. Stir and leave for about 5 minutes. Lastly, throw in the choy sum and add ground pepper. Stir soup and lower heat, let this sit for another 3 minutes or so and then it will be ready to serve. Turn off heat and serve immediately. Best eaten with boiled rice.


  1. OMG! Tinola! I’m half-Filipina, and there are some recipes that I just never thought of getting from my mother! I’m going to have to make this – it’s still winter here, and definitely calls for soup.

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