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Pat D’s Tasty Tinola

November 11, 2009

IMG_9158My wife, Jennifer, and I have often said that we will never move – never leave Phoenix, because of our wonderful neighbors.  Not just one or two good neighbors – but all of our neighbors.  We have lived in many places in our lives, but we have never felt more at home than where we are now.  We are surrounded by nice caring people.

Recently Jen went out-of-town for a conference leaving me to fly solo with my little son Ethan.  One evening I had a meeting after work and our neighbors, Pat & Chris, offered to watch Ethan.  They have two girls near his age and the get along great.  So tonight we wanted to give them something as thanks for helping us out and we walked over some cupcakes.  Turning the corner to their house revealed some wonderful smells coming from their kitchen.  Pat is of Filipino and Japanese descent and she was cooking up a terrific looking traditional Filipino soup called Tinola.  Needless to say, to our great fortune, we ended up walking home with dinner.

Here is my attempt at reverse engineering her excellent creation:

– 2 to 3 pounds of chicken, use a mix of wings, small drumsticks, and boneless breast

– a few glugs of vegetable oil

– 1 small onion thinly sliced

– 1 clove of garlic finely chopped

– 2 knobs of ginger, peeled and minced (use a microplane)

– 4 small red chili peppers

– 4 cups of water

– 2 tablespoons of fish sauce

– 2 cups of green (unripe) papaya peeled and cubed

– 2 handfuls of fresh spinach

– crushed red pepper to taste

IMG_9154Heat a large wok or saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the oil and brown the chicken on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Set chicken aside.  Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger and chili peppers and saute another 3 to 4 minutes.

Now stir in water, fish sauce, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and add back the chicken and simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes stirring occasionally.  Now add the papaya and simmer another 8 minutes or so until the papaya is tender and cooked through.

Remove from heat, stir in the spinach and top with the crushed red pepper.  Serve with some fresh steamed white rice.

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