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Tinola, a comforting Filipino soup seasoned with plenty of ginger and garlic, has countless variations throughout the Philippines. The soup calls for malunggay leaves (aka moringa), which can be found fresh or frozen at Asian markets. Bok choy is a good substitute. Feel free to increase the amounts of garlic and fish sauce for an even more flavorful soup. Serve this easy and healthy chicken soup on its own or with jasmine rice, quinoa or wild rice.

EatingWell.com, October 2019; updated October 2022


Recipe Summary

45 mins
45 mins

What Is Tinola?

Tinola is a Filipino chicken soup flavored with ginger, garlic or onion and fish sauce and traditionally includes green papaya. Some variations swap out the chicken for fish. It is commonly served with rice. Learn more about this healthy Filipino soup here.

What Substitutions Can I Make?

This recipe calls for malunggay leaves or moringa. Moringa comes from the malunggay tree, which grows in the tropics and a few other subtropical environments. The leaves have a mild, slightly bitter flavor. Look for them fresh or frozen at Asian markets. If you can't find them, you can substitute bok choy leaves (but leave out the stems). Green papaya is another traditional ingredient in tinola. Green papaya is papaya that has yet to ripen. Its flesh is pale with a firm texture. It's less sweet compared to ripened papaya and is also available at Asian markets. If you can't find green papaya, you can use chayote in its place, as it has a similar flavor and texture.

Can I Make Tinola Ahead?

Yes! Cover and refrigerate the tinola for up to 3 days.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer 


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until the onion starts to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add chicken and broth; cook, stirring, until the chicken is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add papaya (or chayote), malunggay (or bok choy), fish sauce, salt and pepper; continue simmering until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded, about 5 minutes more.


Nutrition Facts

1 1/2 cups
344 calories; protein 27.4g; carbohydrates 14.2g; dietary fiber 1.9g; sugars 6.1g; fat 20.5g; saturated fat 3.6g; cholesterol 75.5mg; vitamin a iu 2134.5IU; vitamin c 52.1mg; folate 56mcg; calcium 82.8mg; iron 2.3mg; magnesium 51.9mg; potassium 634.2mg; sodium 663mg; thiamin 0.1mg.

3 lean protein, 2 1/2 fat, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fruit