This winter weather in Toronto has me turning to my favourite go-to comfort food recipes. This go around I’m sharing a classic Filipino dish that I grew up on - Chicken Tinola! This can definitely be cooked on the stove top but I tested it out in the instant pot and it worked out great! Because who doesn’t love trying new recipes in their instant pot?!
So, what the heck is Tinola? Tinola is basically the Filipino equivalent to chicken noodle soup! It has that delicious chicken broth with lots of veggies (which I’ll get into later!) and scrumptious pieces of chicken. Many people add noodles when making tinola (Filipino Sotanghon noodles, which are also called cellophane noodles and are made out of bean starch). However I didn’t add them in this recipe, but you can definitely incorporate them if you wish!
So typically we Filipinos will use a whole chicken in this dish, but since I don’t know how to chop up a whole chicken myself I took the easy route and used chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs (skin-on & bone-in). It still makes for a tasty and satisfying tinola - it’s also so much easier when grocery shopping and prepping ingredients ;)
If you’re not familiar with this dish, you might not have ever used the two vegetables that are included in this recipe. For me, tinola is not complete without chayote. Chayote is a green pear-shaped squash that is a little bit crunchy and kind of tastes like a mix between a cucumber and potato. You can find this in your asian grocery stores all year-round and is a must-have for tinola!
The other ingredient I use is called malunggay leaves - which are horseradish tree leaves. They have a similar taste to spinach leaves in my opinion. I bought a package of frozen malunggay leaves from the Asian grocery store which are very inexpensive and tasted great! (My parents normally use the fresh leaves when they can get them, but these frozen ones worked pretty well). Scroll through the pictures to see what the package looks like, for your reference. If you can’t find these ingredients, don’t fret - you can add spinach, kale or bok choy if you'd like.
Tinola using the instant pot
My one note about using the instant pot is this: while it only takes 10 minutes to cook on the manual pressure setting, it does take a while for the instant pot to come to pressure. If you are familiar with cooking with the instant pot then you know that the more liquid you have in the pot, the longer it will take to come up to pressure. So just know that it will take a while (depending on your instant pot and how much water you like to include) to get up to pressure!
Other than that, the instant pot worked great and made the chicken very tender and the broth really tasty - I will definitely make this again with my trusty instant pot :)
And check out my Youtube video below to see the step-by-step cooking demo!
Filipino Chicken Tinola
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large knob of garlic, sliced thin
1 medium onion, chopped
6 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs (bone-in and with skin)
2 tbsp fish sauce (patis), might need more after taste testing
10 C water
3 medium chayote, sliced
1 packet malunggay leaves
3 whole hot chilli peppers
Salt to taste
Set instant pot to Saute mode, add in the vegetable oil and allow to heat up. Add in the garlic and saute until golden. Next add the ginger, onions and a pinch of salt and continue to saute for about 2-3 minutes, until the onions are starting to turn translucent
Add in the chicken drumsticks and thighs and stir to combine with the sautéed garlic, ginger and onion. Mix in 1 tbsp of the fish sauce (patis) and stir together. Let simmer for 5 minutes, mixing frequently until the chicken begins to brown
Add in the water, enough so that it at least covers the chicken. I like my tinola to have a lot of soup so I added in 10 cups.
Now time to cook! Cover the instant pot, make sure the valve is set to sealed, and then select the “Manual” pressure option for 10 minutes. *Note: The instant pot will need time to get up to pressure, since there is a lot of water in this recipe, mine took about 30 minutes.
Once done, use the quick release venting. Open once it is ready and set the instant pot to Saute mode again. You will need to skim the surface of the broth to remove the oil/fat bubbles that have accumulated.
Next, add in the chayote and chili peppers and let cook for 5 minutes or so.
Time to do a taste test (if you haven’t already!) - Check to see if the tinola needs any additional salt or fish sauce. I added an extra 2 tbsp of fish sauce, a large pinch of salt and also some freshly cracked black pepper (which is not normally in traditional tinola, but I like some cracked black pepper in my soups)
Next add in the malunggay leaves and cover with a clear lid (I used one from a large pot I have) and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. At this point all the veggies should be cooked and you are done!! Do a final taste test to see if you need to add any additional seasonings - and then time to serve and enjoy your delicious instant pot chicken tinola!