Hello Everyone! My goodness has it been cold these past few days/nights! Today I didn’t particularly do much besides staying indoors, away from the cold and rain, and cooking up a nice pot of Chicken Soup to stay warm. I made Arroz Caldo, a Filipino chicken porridge, over the weekend seeing as I thought I’d be doing down with a cold, but I was mighty fine the next day. I had some leftover chicken and ginger from that, and so I decided to make chicken soup with it! All I really needed was green papaya and malungay or chilli leaves. Also, perfect as it’s winter warmer month on my blog, and I actually didn’t have chicken soup pre-planned into the month.
Growing up, my mom always made this dish, even though we live in the tropics where we have hot weather all year round, it was still a perfect dish for a rainy day. We usually skip the malunggay or chilli leaves altogether since its not commonly found in the markets, unless you grow your own, and we usually use chayote (or known as chokos here in Australia, which by the way I never knew until I arrived here) instead of green papaya; no real reason for the substitute. My mom also adds glass noodles to the soup rather than pairing the soup with rice (but I still add the glass noodles and have a serving of rice anyway).
I think I may have at one point in my life tried this chicken soup with green papaya, and I honestly could not tell the difference in taste, until today that is. I’m not sure if it’s the particular papaya that I picked or the way I prepared it, or whatever it may be, it did not leave a lovely taste to my buds. It just tasted wrong and I can’t pinpoint what it tasted like. Probably just raw papaya to me, but I believe that I’ve cooked it long enough because it was soft, and I don’t think I needed to do anything with it besides peeling and removing the seeds to prepare it. After this dish of mine, I definitely prefer using chayote/choko with my chicken soup. Anyway, I also tried to look for malunggay and chilli leaves in the markets. No one knew what malunggay leaves were and a lady told me that “no one here sells chilli leaves”. I stopped and thought for a while, and then I saw a sign that said that they sell curry leaves. I thought to myself if I could use curry leaves instead of chilli leaves, and so I bought a small bag of fresh curry leaves. It was a wise decision in my opinion! The curry leaves made the soup even more fragrant, which I didn’t think was possible seeing as the chicken soup alone without it was already fragrant enough. It also added a subtle flavour to the soup which I can’t quite describe. Basically, if you’ve had the chance to smell curry leaves, that smell is the flavour. I don’t know if I made any sense there but that’s what I feel/taste.
- 1kg chicken wingettes, washed and cleaned
- 1.5L water
- 1/2 small-sized green papaya, peeled, seeds removed and cut into wedges
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 brown onion, diced
- Thumb-sized ginger, julienned
- Small bunch curry leaves
- Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the julienned ginger strips and sauté until fragrant. Add in the garlic together with the curry leaves and continue sautéing until golden brown. Finally, add in the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent.
- Add in the chicken wingettes together with a bit of salt and pepper. Give it a good mix, then cover the pot and let it cook for about 8-10 minutes.
- Add in the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the papaya wedges and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the papayas are tender. Taste and if needed, season a bit more to your liking.
- Turn the heat off and serve immediately with steamed rice. Enjoy!
The secret to making a good chicken tinola is to simmer the chicken for a long period of time. This enables the flavours of the chicken to infuse into the soup and also tenderises the chicken. I’d say cook it between 45-60 minutes, but 20 minutes cooking time is good enough if time is not on your side. Both has worked out fine for me.
– Ally xx