Here Are 6 Ways You Can Tweak Your Tinola

Getting tired of your usual tinola? Here's how to tweak your recipe.

IMAGE Riell Santos

The simple way of cooking the chicken tinola recipe can be both delicious and boring. Its simplicity can be the problem! While the savory and spicy ginger soup is a great complement to chicken and the green papaya, when you have had cooked that way for some time, a little experimentation may be needed in the kitchen to make it into an exciting meal to have again. 

Getting tired of the same ulam recipes can be disheartening for the cook and unappetizing for the eater. If you're running out of ideas regarding how to make your meals appetizing and a meal to forward to again, here are 6 ways to hack the chicken and ginger soup recipe into a dish and make it exciting again: 

Photo by Majoy Siason

1 Replace chicken with tofu. 

One of the best qualities of tofu or tokwa is that it really is like a sponge. It can take on any marinade, sauce, or soup and make it taste exactly like it because it absorbed flavors so well. For those who adore the chicken ginger soup, you'll fall in love with this version that replaces the chicken with this non-meat substitute.  

Photo by Bianca Laxamana
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2 Use shrimp or other seafood instead. 

Swap out the chicken for a seafood substitute: shrimp! Hipon can be just as filling and tasty as the chicken but gives the soup an overall big difference in flavor. You don't have to stop there. You can mix and match the seafood that it doesn't even have to be just shrimp!

Tinolang tahong is a real recipe. Tahong or our green mussels are just as tasty when cooked with ginger, so it's a great addition to the soup, too. No tahong but clams are available in the wet market? Use those! These will not only give your dish a delicious flavor but will make your soup look and taste deliciously different, too. 

Photo by Lilen Uy

3 Replace ginger with lemongrass. 

There's a regional recipe from the Southern Philippines called tinanglarang manok or chicken in lemongrass soup. This is very much like tinolang manok but instead of ginger being the main flavor of the dish, this chicken soup recipe makes the tanglad or lemongrass the star! The result is a dish that's very similar to the tinola with its simplicity but with the added lemony-grassy taste of the tanglad.  

Photo by Dairy Darilag

4 Add gata. 

Ginger and coconut is not an unfamiliar food pairing. That's what makes this recipe hack on the tinola so delicious! The tinola is a already quite flavorful on its own but the addition of gata or coconut milk to the soup transforms the dish. It makes the dish instantly creamy and changes the soup into a thick sauce that you will still want to spoon over your freshly steamed rice. 

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Photo by Karishma Etong

5 Replace chicken with luncheon meat

Have you already tried Spam sinigang? If you have, then you know how sinfully delicious that ingredient swap can be. Now think about how delicious that can of luncheon meat can make your tinola. That saltiness of the canned meat may make the patis or fish sauce unnecessary but just in case, you may want to ease up on adding too much of the classic condiment before you taste it. This easy canned food recipe hack may be the easy ingredient swap you need.         

Photo by K Wol from Pixabay

6 Use mushrooms instead of papaya. 

The green papaya is commonly replaced with sayote, but there is another ingredient that you can use that can help make this simple chicken soup dish meatier in flavor: mushrooms. These capped buttons are a great way to make this a fast and easy chicken soup. Use the canned mushrooms that are commonly available or grab a small container of the fresh kind. Either of these two kinds of mushrooms would make a great pairing with chicken.  

Tinola is a great simple recipe. Experiment with other flavors that make the combo of chicken and ginger delicious. You may just discover the next food pairing that makes the tinolang manok recipe a better and more flavorful meal every time.  



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating! 


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