Chicken tinola and liver sauce tinolang manok

Tinolang manok or chicken soup with green papaya and chili leaves was a huge favorite with my family when my brother and I were growing up. My father taught me how to make a special dipping sauce to make the tinola experience even more satisfying — a mixture of mashed chicken liver with patis (fish sauce). I taught my own kids to eat tinola with chayote rather than green papaya, and I never had the opportunity to introduce them to green papaya and the mashed liver and patis dipping sauce until a few nights ago. Unripe green papaya

Today’s generation knows green papaya as an ingredient for bleaching soap. If health rather than vanity is your priority, you might be interested to know about the many health benefits derived from eating green papaya. It is an important part of Southeast Asian cuisines and there are even Thai and Vietnamese restaurants named Green Papaya. Interesting? Let’s get on with the recipe for chicken tinola.

This recipe is good for 4 to 6 persons.

Ingredients for chicken tinola

1 whole chicken (including gizzard and liver), about 1-1/2 kilos in weight
2 green papayas
a bunch of chili leaves
half a head of garlic
1 white onion
a thumb-sized piece of ginger
patis (fish sauce), to taste
2 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil

Cut the chicken into 12 to 16 pieces.

Crush, peel and mince the garlic. Peel and finely slice the onion and ginger.

Heat the cooking oil in a pot. Saute the garlic and ginger until they start to brown. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes or until the onion starts to turn soft. Add the chicken pieces, excluding the liver, and cook in the hot oil until they change color. Pour in enough water to cover. Season with patis. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the green papaya and chili leaves.

Cut the green papayas in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut off the skin, discard and cut the pale green flesh into wedges.

Pick the chili leaves and discard the stalks.

When the chicken has simmered for about 20 minutes, add the green papaya, bring to boil once more, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken liver and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until both the papaya and the chicken liver are done. Do not overcook the papaya. Pierce with a fork after 15 minutes of simmering and, if the fork goes through, it’s done. Season with more patis if necessary.

Turn off the heat. Drop the chili leaves, cover and leave for about 10 minutes. Don’t boil the chili leaves because they will turn bitter.

While waiting for the chili leaves to wilt, make the sauce. chicken liver and patis

Scoop out the liver from the pot, place in a saucer with a few tablespoonfuls of patis. Chicken liver mashed in patis

Mash the liver with the back of a fork and mix into the patis. Serve on the side as a dipping sauce for the chicken tinola.


  1. says

    I’ve had problems with my tinola coming out dark and brown.

    Any suggestions? I like my tinola to be light and clear, but with the addition of the pepper leaves, it usually goes brown-ish.

    Thanks for the post and we’ll be cooking tinola pretty soon, as soon as I can find pepper leaves. Will try that mashed liver-patis dipping sauce too. We’ll credit you for sure.

  2. says

    I think my favorite part in tinola is the liver, and I usually eat my tinola with liver and patis. I never thought of combining the two as a condiment though!

    I’ll have to try this out next :)

  3. Jaecel says

    Hi Miss Connie! :)
    The traditional dipping sauce that we use for tinola is calamansi and patis. Do you think using liver spread like Reno in lieu of fresh chicken liver will work as well? We use chicken fillets for our soup dishes. I make a separate broth using your homemade broth recipe. ;) Thank you in advance. :)

  4. lalay says

    hmmm..this dish looks heavenly… one of my favorites when i was growing up. uh-oh…i’m feeling nostalgic now!!! i could not find papaya nor chayote, not even the chili leaves here where i live right now… i could actually smell the tinola now… i could almost savor it… ay naku! i’m beggining to salivate na! always happens whenever i check your site ms connie!

  5. Ebba Myra says

    Wow, this style of sawsawan is something new to me. I just had a great tinola in a Filipino restaurant today and I sawsaw the chicken in bagoong. I might have just have to try this when I cook the tinola. Thanks ha.

  6. Lory says

    What does Tinola taste like dipping it in liver patis sauce? It’s the first I’ve heard of this. I usually just have patis with sili as a dipping sauce, but this is quite interesting. I might try it someday.

  7. says

    Jaecel, re “Do you think using liver spread like Reno in lieu of fresh chicken liver will work as well?”

    No, canned liver spread is already seasoned. Add that to patis and it’ll be super salty.

    Lory, “What does Tinola taste like dipping it in liver patis sauce?”

    You have to try it to find out. :)

  8. says

    love,love,love the liver and patis sauce. I learned this from a cooking class I attended years ago in Manila. I saute the liver in oil w/ lots of crushed garlic and add patis and kalamansi. yummo! Too bad dahon ng sili is not very common here in sydney so I just substitute spinach leaves but its not the same

  9. Ebba Myra says

    Kaya nga ako nag-tanim ng sili just for the dahon, but I put it in monggo, never thought of putting it in tinola. Ummm, kailan kaya lalaki yung plants ko para maka-pitas na ng dahon. Or maybe I’ll just buy the frozen ones sold in oriental stores here. Yummy I have chicken drummettes in the fridge, mag-titinola ako today, yehey….

  10. Lory says

    I will definitely try that liver patis combo someday. Not just yet. Di pa tinitinda ang mga sayote sa bundok namin ngayon, lalo namang walang papaya. May tumubong sili sa mga seeds na isinabog ko, pero isang dangkal pa lang ang taas niya. At kasalukuyang naninirahan sa loob ng bahay namin dahil papalamig na sa dako namin. In the meantime, maglalaway muna ako sa pagtingin sa mga niluluto mo Ms. Connie.

  11. brenda says

    tinola is my fave confort food but i haven’t tried this liver+patis sawsawan. I usually have patis and sili on the side. I should try this.

  12. says

    hi! i got it from my mother-in-law, i mean adding liver to tinola kaya i always add chicken liver to my tinola, pwede din pala dipping sauce! will definitely try it out the next time i cook tinola!

  13. says

    Just what I needed! Thank you very much for this post. The only dishes that I cook are anything fried, sinigang and nilaga. My children love tinola and I promised to myself to learn how to cook it. Now, I’ll know how.

  14. Clueless cooking newlywed says

    Hi Ms. Connie. I got married last August. I’ve always loved eating but not cooking. I was never interested in learning how to cook but I promised my husband that I would learn to cook for him. I would call our longtime cook and my sister who loves to cook to ask how to prepare certain dishes but somehow they wouldn’t turn out delicious. I guess because their instructions were vague. I tried your tinola recipe last night and my husband and even our maid (who doesn’t know how to cook) loved it! I’m so happy that I finally cooked something that he really liked! Thank you for your recipe! :) You are a godsend! I googled tinola recipes and was able to find yours along with that of others but I decided to try yours since it was the most detailed. I am completely clueless when it comes to cooking, what I liked about your recipe is that it gave very detailed instructions and tips such as not boiling chili leaves otherwise they’ll turn bitter. Other recipes just assume that you already have the skills and know the intricacies of cooking. I will be trying your chicken adobo recipe for lunch and your ground beef and quail egg recipe for dinner. My very limited repertoire of dishes – carbonara, fried chicken using MSG free fried chicken mix, etc. will now expand thanks to your recipes. Because of you, I am now excited and eager to cook :)

  15. Michael Soriano says

    Hi Ms. Connie:

    I had just tried the dipping sauce and it was out of this world! I did a slight variation by putting in Calamansi juice together with crushed finger sili. It was superb! I also like to cut the Sayote in thick cubes so that they stay sweet. Thanks for the inspiration. Cooking during my restdays surely make my day. Cheers!

  16. says

    I was searching for some variations for Chicken Tinola and came across this site, I will definitely try the patis/liver dipping sauce. Thanks for sharing this unique tip.

    Have you also tried putting coconut milk (‘gata’) on tinola? I found it weird when I first heard it. I used to think it was only applicable to adobo (adobong gata). But the taste was fantastic, mapapadami ka talaga ng kain ng rice hehe!

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