Classic Filipino Chicken Broth (Tinolang Manok)

DSCF6830 (457x640)It seems that chicken is a major staple for the people I am feeding. For three weeks of the four-week menu cycle which I almost religiously follow, chicken, coming in boxes as whole thighs or drumsticks is served twice to thrice a week. More often than not, it’s usually chicken drumsticks marinated in an off-the-shelf BBQ sauce or chicken  thighs done as oven-fried on a busy Tuesday lunch when visitors are welcomed to the centre and there is an open house. As much as I want to prepare other recipes if I can, given the allotted prep time I have and the available ingredients, I am always bounded by limited herbs and spices and aromatics and doing a minor twist to the already prix-fix, rotating monthly menu may only ruin the outcome.  So far though, I have been successful in pleasing the clients by working on tested recipes with three to four ingredients.  Some spices may also be too strong or too pungent for them and that further limits my already limited arsenal of spice rack.  Salt is taboo.

In the grocery where I shop, chicken thighs are almost always ‘affordable.’ I have them in my freezer for easy braising and frying given the limited time I have now in my own kitchen. Apparently, my workweek has been extended until early in the evening and coming from work and preparing food for myself has already become a chore. I’d stop by a Chinese restaurant before heading home to relax, to have my fix and to eventually clear my palate. I’ve also allotted time for something I would recreate in my head a few days before my own ‘weekend’ begins, and from there, start my shopping.  I only shop for what I really need now.

Tinola was also major staple growing up.  It’s probably one of the easiest chicken recipes that can be converted into a meal and is a one-pot wonder.  I don’t have anything against Tinola like Adobo, but I consider this dish more of a broth dish where it acts as a base for sauces and other main dishes.

For this blog, I broke down each element of the ‘Tinola’ and concentrated on enhancing the flavour of the broth by adding lemongrass.  I enjoy eating my chicken separately from my soup and vegetables unlike others who have them altogether in a bowl.  Dried squid cooked with the broth is also a major element in this broth. I missed the opportunity of buying a pack when I was in Chinatown. I was still half asleep so to speak and all I really wanted was to hit the sack after a nice meal.


  • Chicken Thighs
  • Spanish Onions
  • Green Onions
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Red Thai Chilis
  • Lemongrass
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Sea Salt
  • Coriander
  • Bayleaves

Optional:  Dried Squid


  • Parsnips
  • Spinach


  • Patis
  • Ground Blackpepper

Start a pot of water with the chicken thighs and throw the first boil. Rinse the pot and chicken in cold running water, and set aside.

DSCF6826 (640x510)DSCF6827 (640x458)Combine the chicken with the other ingredients in another pot, covered and let it poach for an hour or so or until the chicken has been fully cooked through. Gently lift the chicken from the pot, carefully avoiding the skin from ripping apart and let it hang-dry on a strainer. Strain the broth in another sauce pan, and adjust seasoning to taste.

Pre-boil the Spinach and Parnsips in a different pot using the same broth.

DSCF6828 (640x512)DSCF6829 (640x426)Chop the chicken Chinese Style and set the plate together with the sides. Drizzle with Patis and season with ground black pepper before serving and garnish the chicken and soup with finely chopped green onion.

DSCF6831 (640x455)

ahref=””>Food Friday</a><a title=”FoodTripFriday” href= target=”_blank”><img title=”FTFBadge” src=”; alt=”FTFBadge” width=”250″ height=”125″ />

2 thoughts on “Classic Filipino Chicken Broth (Tinolang Manok)

  1. interesting tinola! i like how you cooked and presented it!
    back at my parent’s house we usually cook it with lemongrass, too. yummmmy!

    many thanks again for sharing and linking over at Food Friday, Chef E
    enjoy the weekend!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s