(Filipino ginger chicken soup with papaya)
- Oil -- 2 or 3 tablespoons
- Chicken, bone in, cut into small pieces -- 2 to 3 pounds
- Onion, thinly sliced -- 1
- Garlic, minced -- 1 tablespoon
- Ginger, minced or julienne -- 2 tablespoons
- Water -- 4 cups
- Fish sauce (patis) -- 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Green papaya, peeled, seeded and cubed -- 2 cups
- Fresh spinach -- about 2 cups
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until lightly browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a plate or bowl.
- Add the onions to the pot and saute until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Next add the garlic and ginger and saute for another 2 or 3 minutes.
- Stir in the water, fish sauce, salt and pepper bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add back the browned chicken pieces and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.
- Add the cubed papaya to the pot and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Remove from heat, stir in the spinach and adjust seasoning. Serve hot in bowls with a side of steamed rice.
- If you prefer a less fatty, clearer soup, remove the skin from the chicken after browning.
- Tinolang Isda (Fish tinola): Substitute 1 pound of fish fillets for the chicken. Cut the fish into cubes. Eliminate the browning step. Fish cooks more quickly than chicken, so add it at the same time you add the papaya.
- Green Papaya Substitutes: You really need to use unripe, green papaya to get the right texture and taste, not ripe papaya. If green papaya is unavailable where you live, use chayote squash (called sayote in the Philippines); it's very similar. Or try peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber.
- Greens: In the Philippines, dahon ng sili, or chili leaves, a leafy green, are often used instead of spinach, as are the leaves of a tree called malungay. Feel free to experiment with your own favorite leafy green.
- Eliminate the fish sauce and just use salt if you like.