Pork tinola

casaveneracion.com pork tinola

A soup served as a main entree in the Philippines, tinola is traditionally cooked with chicken, wedges of unripe papaya and sili leaves. Papaya tends to get mushy and I don’t like that in my soup. So, I cook tinola with chayote instead. Should it be chicken tinola every time? No, of course not. I tried cooking tinola with pork once and I’ve done it several times since.

It is a good idea to use a cut of pork with bones like ribs. It would yield an even richer broth. But, since you will get less meat, you will have to increase amount (based on weight) of the pork.

Patis is a salty fermented fish sauce native to the Philippines. Other Southeast Asian countries have their own versions with different names. Patis has a rather strong odor that is particularly noticeable when served on its own as a dunking sauce at the dinner table. It is not so apparent when patis is used as a seasoning and mixed with the dish itself. It is not absolutely necessary to use patis in cooking tinola. Salt may be used instead. However, patis does have a very distinct flavor that is lost when substituted with plain salt.

When I was a kid, every time my father cooked chicken tinola, he would always include a piece of chicken liver so he could make a special dunking sauce to go with it. He would take the chicken liver from the cooked dish, mash it with a fork and mix it with a few tablespoons of patis. Try it if you’re thinking about cooking chicken tinola.

Ingredients :

3/4 kilo of pork rump or shoulder
1/2 head of garlic
1 thumb-sized pc. of ginger
1 onion, sliced
3 chayotes
1 c. of sili leaves
salt or patis (fermented fish sauce)
1 tbsp. of cooking oil
5 c. of water

Cooking procedure :

Cut pork meat into serving size pieces, about 2″ x 2″ cubes.

Crush garlic and discard skin.

Peel ginger and slice thinly.

Heat cooking oil in a large saucepan or casserole. Over high heat, saute garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion slices and cook until limp. Add pork cubes and cook, stirring, until no longer pink on all sides. Season with salt or patis and pepper. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove skin of chayote with a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the white core with a knife. Cut into wedges.

About 15 minutes before the pork is fully cooked, increase heat to high and add the chayote wedges. Adjust seasoning. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until chayote is cooked. Turn off heat, place the sili leaves on top and cover for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

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The Author

Hello, my name is Connie Veneracion. I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more about me)

13 Responses

  1. felixberto says:

    tinola was the soup of the katipuneros. i think i read that here. how do i use these tinola cubes and other mixes? they are very popular in the philippines. saves money on ingredients they say.

  2. Connie says:

    “how do i use these tinola cubes and other mixes? they are very popular in the philippines. saves money on ingredients they say.”

    they won’t give you the natural flavor that you only get from fresh ingredients.

  3. shekinahjireh says:

    hi! i’m not fond of chicken so, when i like to have a taste of tinola, i would use pork. however, we use the spareribs instead of pork shoulder, and we never fail us add sotanghon…. yumyum!

    its my fave and my sister too! though, husband swears he still like the chicken version!

  4. gus hansen says:

    which makes me think…if you can make pork tinola, can you make a pork sinigang sa miso? all the sinigang sa miso i’ve seen had seafood…

  5. Connie says:

    Why not? What an intriguing idea, Gus. :)

  6. JennyP says:

    Hi Connie,
    I’m Jenny, 25yrs old, and an amateur when it comes to cooking… I usually just fry stuff. But I started learning a year ago and now more than ever (I am now living on my own), I need to learn how to cook. I found your website while browsing for recipes and this recipe is delicious! OMG! Someone might actually think I’ve been cooking for a long time! :)
    I made some modifications to your recipe since I’m trying to eat healthier. I used boneless chicken thighs and baby bokchoy coz I can’t find sili leaves in Vegas (I’m not even sure the English word for it). I also just used salt and pepper and a dash of dried of rosemary. This is so awesome! Thanks a lot!!!

  7. yumi says:

    Hi Ms. Connie, its been a while, you can also use shrimps as a substitute to chicken, though i know you are allergic to this sea treasures but your little girl loves it.
    and try papaya on that near ripen stage( maniba ) with your chicken tinola and the broth will be fabulous.

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