Tinolang manok or gingered chicken and green papaya soup 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 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.
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 gingered chicken and green papaya soup a.k.a. tinolang manok.
- 1 whole chicken (including gizzard and liver), about 1-1/2 kilos in weight
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 white onion
- thumb-size piece ginger
- 2 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
- fish sauce to taste
- 2 small green papayas (or 1 large)
- bunch chili leaves
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 the the chicken starts to brown along the edges.
Pour in enough water to cover. Season with fish sauce. 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 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 40 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. Taste the broth. Season with more fish sauce if necessary.
Turn off the heat. 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.
While waiting for the chili leaves to wilt in the residual heat in the pot, take the chicken liver and add to a saucer of fish sauce.
Mash the liver into the fish sauce. Serve as a dipping sauce for the gingered chicken and green papaya soup.