(Chicago) – The soothing and refreshing taste and effect of ginger in Tinola is the reason why I love this dish. The more and stronger the ginger, I prefer. It enhances the quality of my singing voice as well. 🙂 (jk!). I wish I could sing as good as my eating skills. Kidding aside, Tinola is a favorite among Filipinos. It is healthy, hearty and very easy to make as well. Tinola provides all the Pinoy comfort I needed during the frigid winter months here in Chicago.  🙂


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-4 pounds chicken, used legs and thighs in this dish
  • 2 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
  • 2 chayote squash, peeled and cubed, or green papaya
  • 1 tablespoon salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups spinach or dahon ng sili (chili pepper leaves)


Heat oil using a Dutch oven or large sauce pan on medium high. Add the chicken and brown all sides for 4-5 minutes on each side. Cook in batches. Remove chicken and set aside.

In the same pan, sauté garlic, onion and ginger for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent.  Add patis and 4 cups of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan for those toasted chicken bits. Add the chicken back and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Add chayote (or papaya) and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Add salt, pepper and spinach. Cover and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Serve hot.