I miss the southern part of the PH where papayas grow wild, so heavy with fruits they remind me of the goddess Artemis! And I wonder why I never see green/unripe papaya in the store shelves in the UK. However, one time, I did find some, was so happy, made up my mind I’ll make tinola, but when I got home and peeled it–it was a bit ripe and yellow inside! 😭 But I had it so programmed in my head already to eat tinola and I cannot not make it! So here’s a pitiful attempt, but nevertheless enjoyed.
Tinola is clear broth, by the way. I can’t remember the measurement of the ingredients anymore, but I will estimate.
vegetable oil for sauteing
4 cloves garlic (crushed and minced)
1/2 inch ginger (thinly sliced)–> Note: in chicken tinola, the flavour of ginger which you should get should just be a hint, it should not overpower the other flavours
4 chicken thighs (best with skin, but not necessary)
1 large white onion (julienned)
1 stalk of lemon grass (sliced lengthwise several times to maximise the flavour)
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
green papaya (1×2 inches)–>Note: sayote/chayote is also a good substitute
4-5 cups water
sea salt (a pinch)
a splash or two of Thai/fish sauce
a handful or two of spinach (back home we use chili leaves which has a distinctive flavour, but I have never seen it here–I tried using the leaves from our potted chili plant before, but it was not the same)
1. Saute the garlic and ginger.
2. Add the chicken. When skin is light brown….
3. Add the onion. Stir. Cover until onions wilt.
4. Add lemon grass, peppercorns and water. Cover.
5. Boil and simmer. Add papaya.
6. When the chicken is cooked and the papaya is tender, add salt and fish sauce to taste. You can opt for a chicken stock cube.
7. Throw in spinach to wilt just before turning off the stove.
Best served with plain, steamed rice!
I just made tinola again–this time with sayote, sometimes called chayote, or chao-chao in Chinese.