Tinolang Manok is a gingery, garlicky, brothy Filipino stew with tender chicken and lots of vegetables. It is comforting and satisfying eaten with rice or as soup.
- 10 chicken thighs (about 1.8 kg or 4 lbs)
- 2 teaspoons (12 g) fine salt
- Vegetable oil, for browning
- 1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced
- 4 inches ginger root, peeled and sliced (about 60 g or 1/2 cup)
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced (about 30 g or 3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons (14 g) whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) MSG*
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) patis (fish sauce) (See TIPS)
- 10 cups (2.3 liters) chicken broth
- 4 banana peppers
- 1 finger chili – optional for heat
- 4 small zucchini (or 2 small chayote, 1/2 green papaya, or 4 other type of summer squash) peeled, if necessary, and cut into 2″ wedges or diagonal slices
- 4 heads baby bok choy (or 3 cups chili leaves)
- patis or salt to taste
*MSG is wonderful for savory foods. But if you do not like to use MSG, it can be omitted.
1. Brown the chicken well.
– Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel.
– Rub with salt.
– Pour enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of a large 8-quart pot or Dutch oven (do not use non-stick).
– Brown the chicken pieces over medium-high heat. Be patient and get good color on your chicken.
– Remove the browned chicken to a dish. Set aside.
2. Sauté the onion, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, MSG and patis.
– In the same pot, sauté the onion, stirring to pick up the browned bits left from browning the chicken.
– Once the onion has softened and become translucent, add the ginger and garlic.
– Sauté the ginger and garlic for a few minutes, then add the peppercorns and MSG.
– Lastly, add the patis. Stir until fragrant.
3. De-glaze the pan. Then add the chicken and broth. simmer until done, about 45 minutes.
– Pour about 2 cups of the broth into the pot.
– Stir and scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
– Add the chicken back into the pot.
– Pour in the remaining broth and bring to a gentle boil.
– Skim off any foam that forms on top of the broth.
– When the broth is clear, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is done, about 45 minutes. (The chicken will be tender and starting to pull away from the bone.)
4. Remove the chicken from the pot and strain the broth.
– Remove the chicken pieces to a large serving bowl. Cover with foil and set aside.
– Pour the broth through a sieve into another large saucepan or bowl.
– If the broth was poured into a bowl, pour the broth back into the original pot.
5. Bring the broth to a simmer and cook the vegetables.
– Bring the strained broth back up to a strong simmer.
– Make a slit down the length of the banana peppers and the finger chili, if using, with a sharp-tipped knife. (This will release the heat of the peppers without releasing the seeds.) Add the banana peppers and finger chili to the broth.
– After the peppers just begin to soften, about 7 minutes, add the zucchini.
– Continue simmering until the zucchini is just tender, about 5 minutes.
– Add the baby bok choy, simmering in the broth until just wilted.
– Add additional patis or salt to taste, if necessary.
6. Ladle everything together and serve.
– Ladle the cooked vegetables and broth into the large serving bowl with the chicken.
– Serve with a dipping bowl of patis and smashed hot red or green chilies on the side.
Optional: For additional texture and flavor, crisp the chicken before serving.
– While the vegetables are simmering in the broth, heat up an oiled skillet and brown the chicken, skin side down over medium-high heat, just until the skin is crisped, about 1 minute.
– Ladle the vegetables and broth into the large serving bowl and top with the crisped chicken. Serve immediately.
About this recipe
Tinolang Manok is comfort food. It is flavorful and warming. It is brothy, light and very satisfying.
In our house, we like to use meaty chicken thighs, banana peppers, zucchini and baby bok choy. (We can never find the more traditionally used chayote, green papaya or chili leaves where we live). But you can use whatever is available, whatever you love. We also love to crisp the chicken skin, which is not traditional, but is very tasty.
Tinola is very much a one-pot dish. It can be prepared simply by sautéing all the ingredients, adding the broth and simmering until the chicken is cooked. Add in the vegetables and it’s done. But this recipe adds a few little extra steps to really bring out the flavor and texture of this favorite Filipino dish.
Here are 5 helpful tips:
1) About PATIS (fish sauce):
– This is a salty, umami-rich sauce made from fermented fish. It is a distinctive Asian condiment that defines the flavor in so many Southeast Asian dishes. Its strong fishy notes and pungent aroma can be a bit much for some people and can be over-powering if not used correctly. However, that pungency does dissipate during cooking, leaving behind a clean, light, salty flavor.
– Patis can be found in most Asian grocery stores near other condiments such as soy sauce.
– If you do not have any patis or choose not to use it, you can substitute a cube of chicken boullion or some regular salt.
– Soy sauce or Maggi Seasoning can also be used as a substitute for patis, but they will noticeably alter the flavor of the Tinolang Manok.
2) Take the time to brown your chicken well.
– Getting good color on your chicken will add rich chicken flavor and depth to your broth.
3) De-glaze the pan.
– If the chicken was browned well, there will be a lot of flavor stuck to the bottom of the pot. A little broth will release all that flavor into your tinola. Be sure to scrape up all the brown bits sticking to the bottom of the pot. That’s pure flavor.*
*If you have had tinola before and were wondering why the broth in this tinola recipe is so dark, this is why.
4) Strain the broth.
– Straining out the bits of garlic, ginger and peppercorns will make the broth cleaner and smoother. Very nice for sipping!
5) Crisp the chicken skin.
– We love crispy chicken skin. Although crisping up chicken is not something really done with Tinolang Manok (or stews in general), we like the extra texture and flavor that crispy chicken skin brings to the meal.
Serve your Tinolang Manok with rice!
Here’s another favorite Filipino dish!