Tinola – Filipino Chicken Soup

Tinola - A Filipino Chicken SoupI was introduced to Tinola years ago while visiting with my in-laws. From what I learned at the time, tinola was typically made when ‘Uncle Tony’ came over to visit my father-n-law. Tinola was Uncle Tony’s favorite dish, and after tasting it, I could not have agreed more with Uncle Tony. This soup brought my father-n-law and Uncle Tony together. A bowl of comforting soup brought up stories from when they were growing up in the Philippines; from what I know. This soup reminds me of an traditional chicken soup, but jazzed up with some really killer ingredients.

Today was one of those days in Milwaukee where it was just a gloomy day filled with rain and cold temperatures, and coming off a recent weekend at a water park, this was one dish I was looking forward to making. A dish so comforting that it warmed the soul.


  • Whole chicken, cleaned and cut up
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger, skin removed, smashed and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, rough chopped
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 cup of rice water (soak rice in water for an hour, drain and reserve water)
  • 6 cups of chicken stock, warmed
  • 1/4 of frozen spinach, thawed, and drained or 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Cooked white rice (optional)
  • chili flakes (garnish, optional)
  • thinly sliced green onion (garnish, optional)

Begin by bringing a large soup pot to a medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the olive oil. Add in your ginger, garlic, and onion and stir fry for a few minutes, being careful not to burn anything. During this time, add the stock and rice water to a pot, and begin to warm it up. Next, add in your chicken pieces, skin side down to the onion, ginger, and garlic mixture. Brown the chicken, for about 7-10 minutes, then add in the fish sauce.  Next, add in your stock, spinach, and rice water, bringing it all together, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and walk away. Come back in about 45 minutes to an hour.

To a large soup bowl, add a large spoonful of cooked white rice. Ladle in your the broth, get some chicken pieces in there (drum stick, thigh, wing, or breast), add a bit of black pepper, chili flakes, and green onion.

Trust me on this, it is a sure winner on any day of the week, but when you are looking for comfort on a rainy, cold day, this one is a must. I hope you enjoy.

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

4 thoughts to “Tinola – Filipino Chicken Soup”

  1. Chicken Soup is one of my favorite dishes of all time. it is very tasty and the ingredients are very available. sometimes i put a dash of chili over my chicken soup because i like it spicy hot.

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