I've got here a popular Philippine Chicken Tinola soup made with chayote and cooked with aromatics like ginger, garlic, and onion and flavored with fish sauce. My favorite is serving this tasty and comforting soup with steamed rice or quinoa. It's tasty, healthy, delicious, and very simple to make.
What is Chicken Tinola
This Chicken Tinola Soup is synonymous to "make me feel better soup." I swear every time anyone is feeling a bit under the weather, this is something I always make. There's nothing as comforting as having a bowl of this soup. The aromas of the ginger, garlic, onion....there's just something so medicinal about that.
Tinola is typically made with chicken and vegetables like chayote, green papaya, and green leaves like chili leaves or malunggay. However, cooking here in America, I've learned to improvise many of my favorite Filipino dishes. So with this chicken tinola recipe, I've used ingredients that are readily available - potatoes instead of papaya and spinach instead of malunggay pepper leaves.
I did, however, find Chayote squash at my local grocery store so I was very happy about that. Scroll down so you can see how I cut up the chayote.
The secret ingredient in making this Chicken Tinola Soup recipe is my Homemade Chicken Stock. Nothing can compare to using homemade stock for its flavors and nutrient value. The Tinola is a comforting dish and when you use homemade stock, then you're in heaven! I just love knowing that I am getting a wholesome dish, don't you?
Chicken Tinola Ingredients
- Chicken - white or dark meat is fine. Cut them all in equal pieces so they all cook evenly.
- Potatoes - red, Yukon, or gold works. I love the petite potatoes, because, when it comes to cooking, you want your dishes to cook in shorter amount of time as possible, especially if you're busy.
- Spinach - this replaces the chili leaves.
- Chayote can also be spelled as Sayote. It gives the Chicken Tinola Soup a nice tasty and refreshing flavor. Omitting this ingredient will not affect the overall flavor of the dish. However, it adds color and texture to the dish. Chayote offers many health benefits that it's worth considering.
- Chicken Broth - any of your favorite brands work, I prefer my Homemade Chicken Stock.
- Red Pepper Flakes and/or Chili Pepper - If you don't like spicy, omit this. Although, if you're making Chicken Tinola Soup to help cure a cold or a sore throat, I find the spiciness from the flakes to be extra soothing.
- Ginger - when you sauté ginger garlic and onions, the smell alone will surely cure any ailments. Ginger has medicinal properties which help in fighting off infections. Check out this source for health benefits of ginger.
- Garlic - another ingredient that has health and medicinal properties is garlic. Garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family.
- Onion - makes this the trifecta of a "healthy and medicinal" ingredient in making Chicken Tinola Soup.
- Fish Sauce - a great complement to this dish as it helps to bring the umami in otherwise, very light broth. My favorite brand is called Red Boat.
What is Chayote
Chayote is pronounced with a "ch" as in "chair" or "ch" like an "s" sayote.
It belongs in the gourd family and is technically considered a squash or a fruit because it has a seed in the middle, which is also edible. It's used in many Mexican and Asian dishes.
How to Cut Chayote
- STEP 1: Cut the chayote in half.
- STEP 2: Cut in quarters then wedges or desired size for the dish.
- Note: the chayote seed is soft so it can be cooked and eaten with the chayote flesh.
How to Prepare Chayote
If you're not familiar with chayote, you should give this vegetable a try since it is so versatile and you can prepare it in many different ways.
1) Stir-fry: Slice the chayote thinly and lightly fry in a skillet using a little bit of oil.
2) Sauté: With the light crispness of the chayote it's a great substitute for summer squash.
3) Raw: Slice and dice to add texture to your salads.
4) Pickled: Use vinegar and some pickling spices.
5) Simple with Salt + Sugar: A great side dish or by itself by seasoning it with 2 parts sugar and 1 part salt for one chayote.
I found some Chayote in my local grocery store and it inspired me to make this Chicken Tinola Soup. I love that it adds great color and texture to this dish, not to mention Chayote offers many health benefits.
How To Cook Chicken Tinola
For more specific instructions on how to cook Tinola, please scroll down and read or print the recipe card for your convenience.
- Step 1: Sauté onions, garlic and ginger
- Step 2: Sear the chicken on both sides and add fish sauce
- Step 3: Add chicken broth and potatoes
- Step 4: Add the chayote, spinach and chili pepper
Frequently Asked Questions
Soothing! Imagine the flavor combination of ginger, onions, and garlic lightly sautéed while being infused in the oil as you add the chicken and the broth, seasoned with spices and finished with the addition of vegetables.....whatever is ailing you will soon be gone!
Promptly place it in the refrigerator in a sealed container within 1 to 2 hours of serving. Any leftover can be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
I would not suggest it, because potatoes will get soft and grainy once you freeze them. If you want to freeze, omit or remove the potatoes then just add freshly cooked potatoes once ready to thaw to eat.
Chayote has a very clean and fresh taste much like a cucumber.
Yes! Unlike many other fruits or vegetables which have seeds that are bitter, chayote seed is not, and is purely edible.
Other Recipes To Try
📖 Recipe Card
- 2 lbs Chicken white or dark meat (cut-up)
- 1 Quart Organic Chicken Broth Homemade Chicken Stock preferred
- 1 whole Chayote peeled and sliced
- 4 Potatoes peeled and quartered
- 1 8 ounce Bag of Spinach
- 1 inch Ginger sliced
- 2 Garlic Cloves sliced
- 1 Onion sliced
- 2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce to taste
- 1 Chili Pepper optional
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes optional
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil, then add onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté for about 2 minutes until onion is caramelized and garlic and ginger are light golden brown. Set aside.1 inch Ginger, 2 Garlic Cloves, 1 Onion, 2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sear chicken pieces on both sides for about 4 to 6 minutes each side. Add fish sauce. (Red pepper flakes optional)2 lbs Chicken, 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
- Add Chicken broth, bring to a boil. Then add potatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes.1 Quart Organic Chicken Broth, 4 Potatoes
- Add chayote, spinach, and chili pepper (optional) and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.1 whole Chayote, 1 8 ounce Bag of Spinach, 1 Chili Pepper, Salt & Pepper, Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- To modify this recipe for low-sodium: use low-sodium chicken stock and omit the fish sauce.
- Storing ginger: in a sealed plastic bag, in the freezer for up to 6 months, and cut 1 inch section at a time as needed.
- Using and peeling the ginger: with the side of a teaspoon to remove the skin off the ginger root. Leaving the ginger peel sometimes imparts a bitter flavor.
- If freezing: remove the potatoes from the Chicken Tinola Soup as frozen potatoes can sometimes be grainy, which may or may not be desirable for you.
Hello and welcome, friend! I'm Jocelyn, the recipe developer, food photographer + stylist here at JOZmahal. As a Food & Nutrition major, I keep healthy and nutritious ingredients at the core of my recipe creations. I love to cook delicious and healthy meals for my family and friends. And I am so grateful that you are here as I hope to inspire and empower you to make all these delicious and healthy foods at home for your family and friends as well. Every recipe you will find here is quick and simple to make using fresh and natural ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store if not online. Read more about me here...
PS: If you try any of my recipes please use the tag #JOZmahalrecipes and you may be featured in my upcoming posts! ~ cook with love, my friend!