Tinolang Manok – Chicken Tinola

Chicken Tinolang is known as Tinola in the Philippines and is traditionally made with green papaya and pepper leaves. The variation that I grew up with had to make do with local ingredients, so the version made by both my nanay and lola took advantage of this change. In lieu of the pepper leaves, fresh baby spinach can be used; for the papaya, a substitution of zucchini or seedless cucumbers can be used.

Tinolang Manok


3 lbs | 1 kg chicken
2 cups seedless cucumber
2 cups | 170 g baby spinach
1 medium onion
2 cloves | 10g of garlic
2 tbsp | 30 ml fish sauce (patis)
2 tbsp | 30 g ginger
2 tbsp | 30 ml cooking oil
6 cups | 1.42 l water


  1. Rinse chicken thighs in water and pat dry.
  2. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  3. Peel the ginger and slice into matchsticks.
  4. Peel and chop the medium onion.
  5. Finely chop the garlic cloves.
  6. Cut the cucumber into cubes.
  7. Rinse spinach and drain well.


  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat and sauté ginger, onion, and garlic for 1 minute.
  2. Add chicken and lightly brown all the pieces.
  3. Add the fish sauce, salt, and water then bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  5. Add the cucumber and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
  6. Add the spinach leaves, cover, remove from heat without simmering and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


  1. Serve in a bowl, optionally you may serve a side of steamed jasmine rice.