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Recipe Time: Chicken Tinola with Lemongrass & Sweet Corn Cobs

Submitted by on April 20, 2010 – 9:50 am25 Comments

I consider Chicken Tinola (Tinolang Manok)  to be the Filipino version of chicken soup. A meal in a pot. Just as comforting but more filling!

This is a classic Filipino dish that of course, has a few slight variants depending on what region you’re from. I grew up eating different versions, but of course, nothing tastes better than mum’s. Her version ensures that you are licking your lips with each spoonful and is a little different to the mainstream recipe, in that it offers the sweetness of the corn and fragrant lemongrass, taking this simple dish to the next level.

I still recall the times when my brother and I were as sick as a dog or during a nail biting winter’s night, mum would cook up some Chicken Tinola and our problems seemed to just melt away, replaced with glee filled smiles. Even to this day, this dish remains to be my comfort food – other than fried chicken, steak and chocolate of course! The difference here is that this is actually a healthy dish.

Friends are always asking me to cook this. Perfect timing as I refused to cook this in summer.


Zee Ingredients

Whole Chicken (skin on!) X 1

Cloves of garlic X 4

Fish sauce

Ginger (two table spoons worth when sliced)

Onion X ½

Lemongrass X 2 stems

Corn cobs X 4

Bok Choy

Fried Shallots (if avail)


Young papaya or sayote (optional)

Zee Procedure

Cut the chicken into roughly ten pieces and set aside. No need to be all even here.

Crush the cloves of garlic; slice the ginger and the lemongrass. Combine all into a bowl.

TIP: Lemongrass: peel away the tough outer layers to reveal the pale lower section of the stem.

I like to wait until for a few minutes to let the aroma of the garlic and lemongrass fill the air. During this time, heat up the pot on medium heat. Add in oil when hot.

Add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass to the wok- sporadically stirring for a few minutes. At this point, I would usually start shaking my bootay to The Temper Trap’s Fader. Classic song.

Carefully drop in the chicken pieces and stir fry until there are no signs of blood, watching as all the juices flow.

Cut up each corn cob into 4 pieces and add to the mix

Drop the heat to low and add enough water to cover and submerge the ingredients. Add two teaspoons of salt and  fish sauce

Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and tasting as you go. Add more salt if required. This should be sufficient time to allow for the chicken to create a tasty broth.

After this time, wash and add in fresh bok choy and simmer for a further 7 minutes.

TIP: Adding the bok choy during the last stage will ensure it keeps its freshness and also doesn’t require much cooking time anyways.

You’ve been served!

What you should have here is the perfect ‘kick the blues’ soup that will have you closing your eyes with each spoonful. Serve with a side of steamed rice and fish sauce for dipping.


Each bite into the corn will have juices  uncontrollably bursting out. Reminds me of the McCain Super Juicy Corn TVC where the kids are gobbling down corn cobs showering down the juices onto the tin roof!

The Salt Book Winners Announced!

So the competition has drawn to a close my fellow foodies. As promised, the lucky winners, who have been drawn randomly, are:





Congratulations to the both of you! Please email me your postal details. Let me know what recipes you choose to make first.  :)

Thank you to everyone who entered The Salt Book Competition and again to Arbon Publishing for sponsoring this giveaway.


What is your comfort soup?

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