Chicken Tinola

Myers + Chang

Executive Chef Ashley Lujares brings her own heritage and a ton of experience (everything from award-winning fine dining spots like Boston’s gone-but-not-forgotten Radius to a slew of underground ethnic joints in SoCal) to bear in this recipe for Filipino Chicken Tinola. The hearty noodle dish – perfect for unpredictable March weather — will take your broth skills up a notch and fill your belly with warm delicious flavors.


Servings: 4-6


  • 6 ounces dried thin rice vermicelli noodles
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (such as canola)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 3 quarts chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 12 medium garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • One 3-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small chayote, summer squash, or zucchini (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped ginger (about 1-inch knob)
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into small strips about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 to 6 wedges


  1. Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Help them soften by pushing them into the water with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Let sit for 4 minutes until soft, then drain. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil to keep the noodles from sticking together, cover with plastic wrap to keep the noodles from drying out, and set aside.
  2. Peel and discard the dry, papery outer layers of the lemongrass; trim off the top two-thirds of the stalk, which is also dry and papery, and the very base and discard. Finely chop the bottom third (5 to 6 inches) of the stalk, where the stem is pale and bendable. You should have about 2 tablespoons of chopped lemongrass.
  3. In a large stockpot, combine the lemongrass, stock, 10 of the garlic cloves, the sliced ginger, lemon juice, and fish sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes. You should be able to smell the broth from the next room. Season with 1 tablespoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper and taste for seasoning. Does it need perking up? Add a pinch more salt. You know what you like and what tastes good. Trust yourself; we do! When it is delicious, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer, discard the solids, and place the broth back on the stove over low heat to keep it hot.
  4. Using a vegetable peeler or a small sharp knife, peel the chayote. Cut it in half, use a spoon to dig out the pit and cut each half in half. Slice each piece into 1/4-inch half-moons and set aside. (If you don't have chayote, trim the squash, halve them lengthwise, slice the halves into 1/2-inch half-moons, and set aside.)
  5. In a wok or a huge, heavy, flat-bottomed skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat until it simmers, about 1 minutes. Thinly slice the remaining 2 garlic cloves and add with the chopped ginger to the wok. Stir with a wooden spoon until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Season the chicken breast strips with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and add to the wok. Stir until the chicken turns opaque and starts to caramelize, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chayote and about 2 cups of the chicken broth and simmer until the vegetables start to soften (you want them to have a little texture) and the chicken finishes cooking, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Divide the rice vermicelli noodles among four to six deep soup bowls. Divide the chicken among the bowls. Tear up the watercress and add a handful to each bowl, using up all the watercress. Ladle the remaining broth into the bowls evenly. Right before serving, squeeze the lime wedges into the soup.

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