That good bowl of piping hot tinola I was desperately craving but was sorely disappointed? Well, finally, wish fulfilled! Actually, if I just looked a little longer in my fridge, I could have had my tinola that very day. I was so bent on the missing papaya, I didn’t notice the three large gourds of upo in the bin, which would have worked in tinola just as well.
Although bone-in chicken is what’s usually used for deeper flavor, I substituted boneless, skinless chicken breast in this tinolang manok sa upo as I wanted to enjoy it on it’s own (without the usual rice accompaniment) and I didn’t want the hassle of picking through bones. You can, of course, replace with your choice of bone-in chicken parts. Just adjust the amount of water and cook time.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 thumb-sized fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 cups water
- 1 large upo, peeled and cut into 2-inch wedges (about 2 cups)
- 1 bunch fresh spinach leaves, stems trimmed
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, ginger and garlic and cook until limp and aromatic.
- Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 to 4 minutes or until chicken starts to change color and juices run clear. Add fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil, skimming scum that float on top. Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Add upo and cook for about 2 to 4 minutes or until tender yet crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add spinach and push down into broth until just wilted. Serve hot.