What Do You Put In Tinola: Papaya or Sayote?
Are you Team Papaya or Team Sayote?
ILLUSTRATOR Roselle Miranda
Take a good look at the ingredients of your tinolang manok. Does your recipe have the green papaya or the sayote?
In Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine, there are a few tips on how to make your tinolang manok recipe¬†better. One of these tips suggests that you can substitute the talbos ng sili¬†as the¬†leafy greens that accompany the soup for malunggay leaves which grow abundantly in many backyards. Another suggests that the chicken be the native free-range variety that are more flavorful than the commercially raised chicken but takes longer to cook.¬†
Nowhere in the recipe or its tips, however, does it say that the green papaya has a substitute. In fact, there is no mention of the sayote as a possible substitute for the hard-to-find papaya.¬†¬†
So where did we get the idea to substitute the sayote for the green papaya?¬†
It might be because both are¬†similar. Here are great reasons why you can use either vegetable for your tinola recipe.
1 The green papaya and sayote are prepared the same way.¬†
To prepare either of these two vegetables (the papaya is a vegetable when prepared in savory dishes), here's what you do:¬†
- 1. Remove the outside peel. Slice the vegetable in half.¬†
- 2. Remove or scrape out the large seed or seeds.¬†
- 3. Slice into quarters or into the desired serving sizes.¬†
Just by peeling the two vegetables, you'll see the similarities¬†immediately.¬†Both are also hardy vegetables that can last in storage about a week even after purchase. The papaya in particular will last even longer since these will just ripen into the red lady papaya that you can then eat as a fruit.¬†¬†¬†
2 Both¬†have subtle flavors that complement the ginger broth.¬†
The green papaya has a subtle sweetness to it¬†that you can taste in the broth while the sayote has a subtle freshness in flavor. Either vegetable is a great complement to the chicken and ginger-infused broth.¬†
3 Each becomes tender when cooked.¬†
Both cook to a tenderness that is very similar, too. They cook into a pretty translucent green that are tender and crisp at the same time when cooked¬†just right.¬†Nutritionally, the papaya is the¬†better choice but when cooked, either are delicious choices for¬†pairing with the tinola because¬†when simmered and cooked longer than needed, both become very tender vegetables. Sayote¬†is commonly mashed and used as¬†one of the vegetables for a baby's first food.¬†
Which one is your favorite for tinola? Are you a sayote or green papaya fan?¬†
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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