Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tinolang Manok (Chicken Ginger Soup)

This is probably one of my favorite dishes. It can be delicate, with minimal amounts of ginger and patis (as with the recipe in Filipino Cooking Here and Abroad). Or it can be intense and flavorful enough to survive being eaten cold from Mr. Bento when I'm too lazy to head downstairs to the microwave. The recipe below is the latter type, with a high broth-to-cluck ratio and more greens (but alas, no chayote or unripe papaya); the original recipe's proportions are in italics.

NOTE: For some odd reason, saltiness seemed to keep fluctuating. A day after, 3 tbsp. patis + 1 tsp. salt seemed too salty; the day after that, it tasted fine. May go back to little/no salt and see how that goes.
  • 2 tsp. cooking oil (I use vegetable)
  • 3-4 tbsp. (or about a 3 in. by 1-1/2 in. piece) ginger, julienned (original: 2 tsp.)
  • one medium onion, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, lightly smashed (original: 1 clove)
  • 1-1/2 lbs. chicken (original: 3 lbs.)
  • 3 tbsp. patis (original: 2 tbsp.)
  • salt to taste (original: 1 tsp.)
  • 5 cups water
  • 10 oz. spinach, roughly chopped (original: 8 oz.)
  • 1 unripe papaya or 2 chayote, peeled and sliced (alas, didn't have these)

Place oil in a pot. Saute ginger, onion and garlic over medium heat for a couple of minutes.

Add chicken pieces and saute till chicken colors slightly, about 3-4 minutes each side. Season with patis and salt.

Add water. Bring to a boil, then simmer till chicken is done (about 20-30 minutes). If using chayote/green papaya, add and cook till tender but still firm, 5-7 minutes.Correct seasoning.

Add spinach. Cover and remove from heat. Serve in 4-5 minutes.


  1. Making this for dinner tonight and bento tomorrow, albeit with a package of frozen spinach instead of the usual fresh. No salt, but 3-4 tbsp. of patis.

  2. Down with a bad cold yesterday, so made a big pot of this for our dinner with rice. This variant: 2-1/2 lbs. chicken (drumsticks and thighs), 6 cups water, a bit more ginger (4 in. or so worth of fat root) and a lot more garlic (maybe 6-7 fat cloves - half a head), 6 cups water, maybe 1/2 tsp. of salt and maybe 3 tbsp. patis. Threw in a 10 oz bag of spinach when it was done, then covered and removed from the heat.Turned out wonderfully - rich, comforting and ever-so-slightly tangy. Coupled with lots of sleep and hot tea, it's just what the doctor ordered!