I know I said that my last two stew posts were my favorite dish, and this next one is no exception. It may be my uber-fave. It has chicken, ginger, and green papaya. Where else can it go wrong. I am talking about Chicken Tinola.
I love this dish because I was a chicken addict when I was a kid. Anything chicken I would eat. I remember my Dad bringing home KFC and that was a big deal for me. Loved it (and I actually still do – I just do not eat it as much).
But again, I digress…
|Green Papaya - about the size of a small football|
I rarely see tinola in the Filipino eateries around here., so again, I had no choice but make it. Since this was going to be a cold rainy weekend, it seemed appropriate to have something warming.
The challenge again was procurement, but unlike the Puchero, this requires less ingredients. The first time I made this, I tried to get green papaya at the Filipino supermarket (Seafood City) but they did not have it. I do not think they had hot pepper leaves as well… so off to Ranch 99 I go (Ranch 99 is another Asian super grocery store).
The first time I attempted to make this, Ranch 99 did not have green papaya. They did have unripe Hawaiian papaya which seemed to be a good substitute. The second time I made this they had Green Papaya from Mexico. It was meant to be.
Do not use ripe papaya: it needs to firm enough to simmer in broth. Ripe papaya will probably disintegrate (and would probably result in a weird sweet-salty flavor). Best to save the ripe papaya for dessert.
Darn, now I am craving for papaya.
You do need to cut the papaya into wedges. Hopefully the pictures below will help on how to do it.
|This is what it looks like inside. No seeds yet.|
|Wedgies! I do remove the white stuff on the inside where the seeds usually go.|
I have seen recipes sing chayote squash instead. Although it will probably be yummy (I love Chayote too – as can be seen in my corn-chayote tacos), this is not tinola, at least not how I remember it. It’s the blend of the chicken, green papaya, and ginger that makes this dish rock.
The recipe in Panlasang Pinoy again served as a great base. Without it, I would not know that it used Hot Pepper leaves – the leaves! One can find it frozen in the Asian markets. I pretty much followed the recipe, but I used less fish sauce and salt than the original recipe for health reasons.
|Thawing... these are frozen solid when bought.|
Chicken Tinola Recipe
- 1 lb Chicken thighs (about 4)
- 4 cups of water
- 1/2 pc small green papaya, cut into wedges
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped
- 1 thumb ginger, cut into strips
- 3 tsps fish sauce, divided
- 1 packet hot pepper leaves, thawed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Sauté the garlic, onion, and ginger.
- Season the chicken with some salt and pepper.
- Put-in the chicken, skin side first and 1 tsp of fish sauce. Cook until color turns light brown.
- Pour-in the water and the remaining fish oil and put to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add the green papaya wedges and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the hot pepper leaves.
- Add salt (or more fish oil) and pepper to taste (I usually just add pepper).
- Serve hot. Share and enjoy!
I am so glad I made this dish. It is so good and perfect for a cold rainy day. Ginger seems to be the theme of these last two months, and I love the ginger flavor in this soup. Also the blend with the papaya and chicken really makes it.
Dare I say it…It brings back so many childhood memories. Definitely will be in our winter rotation.