Chicken Tinola Soup

There are certain times when you need a little bit of comfort food:
A rainy day
someone sick
bad day at work / school
a cold winter night
or even an unusually cold spring evening.
This weekend just so happened to be one of those in the B&B household.

Friday night, the poor hubs came down with a bad chest cold and cough
So I thought, what better time to make his and my favorite chicken soup -- Filipino style!
{After all, I have to represent my roots!}
{And not to mention, it really is super nutritious!}

So I learned how to make this soup from my mom
who got the recipe from her aunts {a.k.a. my grandmother's sisters = my great aunts = some of my most favorite people. like ever.}
who were taught the recipe by the MASTER herself, my great grandmother.

I know that they'd probably hit me upside the head with a wooden spoon
and my grandmother might actually turn in her grave
because not only am I sharing culinary secrets of our family
I have also changed the recipe a little bit and made my own variation. 

So here it is: My tongue-in-cheek version of The De Guzman Family Chicken Tinola Soup

This recipe serves 4-5
and is approximately 267 calories per standard bowl


6 chicken thighs
{you can use chicken breasts if you want}
2 chayote squash
{traditionally, papaya is used instead}
1 bunch of spinach
{you can also use the de-stemmed salad bag. if you are, use 2 bags for this recipe}
1 large yellow onion
ginger root
{the amount depends on your taste. we use a lot because we heart it so much!}
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 cup {or to your taste} fish sauce
{found in most Asian food aisles in regular supermarkets}


Peel the chayote squash {or papaya, if that's what you're using}. Remove the pit and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes.

Peel the onion and also cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes.

Peel the ginger and cut into 1 inch julienned pieces

Remove the stems from the spinach. I take the whole bunch and twist the stems off.


Remove the skins off and trim the fat from 3 of the 6 pieces of chicken.
In a hot stockpot, place the chicken skins and fry until golden brown.
The fat will be rendered and this is the oil you will use. That way you are not adding any extra oils or fat to the soup.
Remove from the oil and set aside.

{and a little side note}

Using the same pot {and oil}, cook the ginger until light and golden on the edges

Then, add the onions and cook until translucent and tender

Add the chicken. Stir the pot as best as you can so that it is coated with the oil and vegetable mixture. Let the chicken get to a light golden brown a little bit on each side.

When most of the chicken is golden brown, add a bouillon cube and enough water to cover.  Stir in the chayotes. In this case, I added about 2 1/2 cups of water. Add the fish sauce and stir well. Cover and simmer on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes

After simmering, turn off the heat and add the spinach. Cover the pot again and let the spinach steam and cook down {kinda wilt} . . . about 5 minutes. When the spinach is cooked down, stir the pot.

Serve with steamed white rice.

That's it!

Now, much like many family recipes, everyone's got a version.
Everyone's mom or grandmother or great grandmother makes "the best".
And I'm not here to convince you that the one from my family tops them all. 
{although after making this recipe, you may just think so yourself}
But what I know is this: This recipe is the best for me and my family.
And while I can tell you that my mom's side of the family really is known for their cooking
and they have received countless praises
and numerous accolades
and masses of people saying that their cooking is the best...

All I can tell you is that this dish is made with pride
simply because it is exactly that: it is made by my family.


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