Chicken Papaya (Tinola)

Hi, my name is Kacey and I am a coconut. That feels good to say, I am a coconut and I’m not going to let that bother me anymore. This far into this blog you’re probably thinking WTF is she talking about what is a coconut? If you urban dictionary “coconut” I fall under the second definition, not the first (! but….I digress), where it describes a person as tan on the outside and white on the inside. I moved away from my Filipino family when I was young and I learned a lot of my cooking when I was either really young or second hand from my mom (who is very Scandinavian) who recreated dishes that my dad was craving once we moved away. Which was way before the internet, and it was not an easy thing to find Filipino cookbooks either. So a lot my knowing how to cook Filipino food is a lot of winging it, and I’m owning it.

Well trying to, it wasn’t until recently that I even knew it had a Filipino name (tinola) until I was describing it to another not coconut friend who then pointed it out to me. I thought it had more of a Hawaiian dish, I grew up with very blurred lines of what was “Hawaiian” and what was “Filipino” my both of my grandparents were very young when they moved from the Philippines my grandfather was 14 when he started working on the pineapple felids, and my grandmother was 16 when she married my grandfather (who was almost 30 at this point) and moved to Hawaii with her new husband and away from her family. That’s a long story for another day.

In culinary school as the final final, we had to create a menu for the program to make and serve in our restaurant and this was on the menu. The program was structured so that there were different segments of running a restaurant and the team was in charge of ordering ordered unripe papaya. Green papaya is not unripe papaya, it is an actual verity of papaya that is commonly used in Thai green papaya salad, and is pretty easy to find even in Spokane.

Yield: 6 servings

Chicken Papaya (Tinola)

Chicken Papaya (Tinola)

My favorite Filipino comfort food, similar to chicken with a touch of fish sauce, green papaya, and because I like it I add noodles.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 6 Chicken Thighs, boneless skinless
  • 1 medium-sized Green Papaya
  • 1 large Onion, diced
  • 1 bundle of enoki mushrooms
  • 1 bundle of white beech mushrooms
  • 6 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 in knob Ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 qt Chicken Stock, (Asian optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce (more if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing Wine
  • 2 teaspoons Fish Sauce
  • 2 bundles Mung Bean Noodles
  • 1 bunch of green onions, separated


  1. Set up your mise en place, since chicken papaya, in a nutshell, is a soup I like to make sure everything is cut so that it will fit on a spoon. Dice the onions, prep the mushrooms by removing the root and separating them a little, mince the garlic and ginger, slicing the green onions keeping the green parts for the garnish and the whites for cooking and dice the chicken thighs. The papaya you'll need to peel, seed and dice.
  2. Once that's all set up in a dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot, put a little oil add the chicken season with salt and pepper and brown, then add the onions (the white of the green onions too) and cook until translucent.
  3. Add the white beech mushrooms and allow them to get a little browned.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, then add about 2 cups of the chicken stock to deglaze the pan making sure to scrape any brown bits off the bottom. Add the rest of the stock, papaya, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, and fish sauce, then allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until the papaya is cooking through.
  5. Bring to a boil then add the noodles and the enoki mushrooms, once the noodles are cooked taste for seasoning, adjusting the salt, pepper, and soy sauce as needed then it's ready to serve. I usually have a scoop on the bottom of my bowl and garnish with the remaining green onions.


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