Tinolang Manok (Chicken Tinola) is a very well known Filipino comfort food. It is pinoy’s very own version of chicken soup. You won’t find any noodle in this delicious soup. With the chicken and the ginger being the constant ingredient in this soup, some of the ingredients can actually be interchanged or substituted. For example, green papaya or chayote (sayote in Filipino). Or between moringa leaves (malunggay) or chili leaves. Some would say the recipe or ingredients added are based on taste. But in truth, majority would say that it’s based on availability – it’s what’s available growing in the backyard.
Living in the US, it’s hard to find moringa leaves. I was able to plant one eventually in our backyard, but it’s still not ready for harvest soon. I can also try to ask some of my Filipino friends at church for some, but I’m shy to ask sometimes. An elder at church once actually advised me that I can use spinach instead of moringa leaves. I was skeptic at first. Until she cooked my husband and I a whole pot of chicken tinola. She had told us that she had put in spinach. It tasted really good. Ever since that day, we started making chicken tinola with spinach.
We just recently made some with chayote and spinach, and it was delicious and comforting, as always.
ASL 06.25.2019 (Clearwater, FL)