Chicken Tinola and Liver Sauce

Tinolang manok or chicken soup with green papaya and chili leaves was a huge favorite with my family when my brother and I were growing up. My father taught me how to make a special dipping sauce to make the tinola experience even more satisfying a mixture of mashed chicken liver with patis (fish sauce). I taught my kids to eat tinola with chayote rather than green papaya, and I never had the opportunity to introduce them to green papaya and the mashed liver and patis dipping sauce until a few nights ago.

Today’s generation knows green papaya as an ingredient for bleaching soap. If health rather than vanity is your priority, you might be interested to know about the many health benefits derived from eating green papaya. It is an important part of Southeast Asian cuisines and there are even Thai and Vietnamese restaurants named Green Papaya. Interesting? Let’s get on with the recipe for chicken tinola.

Crush, peel, and mince the garlic. Peel and finely slice the onion and ginger. Pour in enough water to cover. Season with patis. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Cut the green papayas in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut off the skin, discard, and cut the pale green flesh into wedges.

When the chicken has simmered for about 20 minutes, add the green papaya, bring to a boil once more, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken liver and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until both the papaya and the chicken liver are done. Do not overcook the papaya. Pierce with a fork after 15 minutes of simmering and, if the fork goes through, it’s done. Season with more patis if necessary. Turn off the heat. Drop the chili leaves, cover, and leave for about 10 minutes. Don’t boil the chili leaves because they will turn bitter.