Chicken, wedges of green papaya and chili leaves in gingered broth. That’s chicken tinola, Filipino comfort food par excellence. Serve as a soup and or main dish.
Chicken tinola 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 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 fish sauce dipping sauce until they were in their teens. And when I did, well, they stuck with their preference for chayote.
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. I’ll leave it to you to Google what those health benefits are.
- Cut the chicken into 12 to 16 pieces.
- Crush, peel and mince the garlic.
- Peel and finely slice the shallots and ginger.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot.
- Saute the garlic and ginger until they start to brown.
- Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes or until the shallots start to turn soft.
- Add the chicken pieces, excluding the liver, and cook in the hot oil until the the chicken pieces brown along the edges.
- Pour in the chicken bone broth. Season with fish sauce. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the green papayas in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
- Cut off and discard the skin.
- 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.
- Turn off the heat. Taste the broth. Season with more fish sauce if necessary.
- Scoop out the chicken liver and set aside.
- Drop the chili leaves, cover and leave for about 10 minutes. Don’t boil the chili leaves because they will turn bitter.
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