Category: spinach

Vegetarian Flat Noodles

Vegetarian Flat Noodles

I can’t believe we’ve gotten through almost the entire first month of the year and I haven’t posted a noodle recipe yet. Well that travesty ends today! These Vegetarian Flat Noodles are an absolute winner of a dish. They are on the table so fast- read more

Vegetarian Bibimbap

Vegetarian Bibimbap

Looking for delicious ways to incorporate more veggies into your meals? Make this Vegetarian Bibimbap! At its most basic, bibimbap means “mixed rice”. But there’s nothing basic about this beloved Korean dish of warm rice topped with seasonal vegetables, a tongue tingling gochujang sauce, and read more



Tinola is Filipino comfort food and perfect for cooler weather. This hearty chicken soup features a gingery broth that is so warming and smells amazing! Each bowl contains a whole piece of chicken and tender chunks of green papaya; a scoop of steamed rice is a must for a complete meal. Fresh, flavorful, and deeply savory and ready in under an hour.

Chicken soup is universal and this version hits all the right notes. It’s familiar, yet different. I would categorize this as a soup-stew. Traditionally, the chicken is left on the bone, which gives the broth additional flavor. It’s really essential in providing that rich deep flavor. The strong, assertive flavor of ginger is not only flavorful, but is also a key player in fighting germs and warding away colds. And the green papaya which many people may enjoy in salads, becomes a whole new vegetable when cooked. The papaya gives heft and some substance to the soup. Liking what you’re hearing? Well let’s get to it.

tinola ingredients

Prep the Tinola Ingredients

This is an easy and straightforward soup recipe. First I start by prepping the chicken and veggies.

The chicken for this dish is usually cut into small chunks, which makes it easier to eat, and also makes more economical servings because you can get divvy up the chicken between more people. However, it’s not as easy to buy your chicken cut up this way here in the US. If you are able to find it, buy all means, go ahead and get it. But for simplicity’s sake, I’m using chicken legs. First, cut through the joints to separate the legs into thighs and drumsticks. Next, cut off any excess fat. I do leave the skin on because a little chicken fat is nice to have in a chicken soup. Plus there’s something about naked chicken parts in soup that I find disturbing 😉

joint tinola

seedy papaya tinola

Next you’re going to prepare the green papaya. Cut the papaya in half (you may only use part of the papaya depending on the size) and peel it. Then scoop out the seeds, making sure to also scrape any of the spongy fiber. Finally cut it into thick wedges.

papaya chunks tinola

The last step before cooking is to prepare your aromatics. Slice up some onion and smash some cloves of garlic. Tinola is one chicken soup that does not shy away from ginger. After peeling, the ginger gets smashed with a wooden spoon to help release its flavor. This is also a really fun way to get out some aggression…

Cooking Tinola

Now that all the ingredients are prepped, it’s time to start cooking. First the chicken gets browned, then the aromatics are added, and then we create the broth.

Now I pour in the chicken stock. This is my go to stock recipe but store bought will work well too. A dollop of fish sauce adds just the perfect funky pop.


The most important part is to make sure that the papaya is fully cooked through. It should not be al dente with a core in the middle. Papaya is a very firm vegetable so cooking it well will not turn it to mush. Once the papaya is cooked, take out the pieces of ginger and discard it. Then, throw in your spinach, taste and adjust seasoning as needed, and it’s ready for the table. This soup is made to be served with rice and Filipinos add it right to the bowl. So the soup will probably be a little more salty than a typical chicken soup. If you’re not serving this with rice (really?), then be a little more conservative with the seasoning.

Ladle the tinola into serving bowls, placing one piece of chicken in each bowl with plenty of papaya. One bite and you’ll never look at chicken soup the same.

This is a family favorite during sweater weather; I hope you love it too. Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen- we love hearing from you!


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recipe tinola


  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: soup
  • Cuisine: Filipino




  • 2 chicken leg quarters
  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
  • ½ small green papaya (approximately ¾ pounds)
  • ½ large onion
  • 1 large handful baby spinach (approximately 1 ounce)
  • 1 piece of ginger about the size of your palm (about 5 ounces)
  • 4 large cloves garlic


  • 4 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt (if needed)
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • A couple pinches ground black pepper


  1. Cut the leg quarters at the joint so you have 2 drumsticks and 2 thighs. Trim any excess fat but do not peel the skin off. Set aside.
  2. Cut the papaya in half. Peel and seed the papaya, scraping out any of the spongy fibers under the seeds.
  3. Then cut the papaya lengthwise into 3 or 4 wedges. Cut across the papaya into thick wedges. Set aside.
  4. Peel the onion and slice into ½ inch pieces. Put the onion into a bowl. 
  5. Cut the ginger into a couple of pieces.
  6. Peel the ginger and then cover with a kitchen towel and smack with a wooden spoon to smash it. Add the ginger to the onion.
  7. Smash the garlic and add it to the ginger bowl.
  8. Heat a large heavy bottom pan or dutch oven over medium high heat for several minutes. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the chicken skin side down.
  9. Cook the chicken undisturbed for 2 minutes to brown the skin, and then flip the chicken and cook the other side for another two minutes.
  10. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and stir for 1 minute to combine.
  11. Pour in the chicken broth and add the papaya.
  12. Stir in the fish sauce, white, and black pepper.
  13. Bring the soup to a simmer over high heat.
  14. Cover with a lid, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the papaya is translucent and tender. 
  15. After the first 10 minutes of cooking, taste the broth. It should be a little saltier than soup since it will be served with rice. Add the salt if needed.  
  16. Remove the pieces of ginger from the soup and discard.
  17. Add the spinach and cook for a minute until it is wilted.
  18. Serve the tinola with steamed rice on the side. 


*If you’re using water instead of stock, add 1 teaspoon salt when you add the fish sauce. Then after cooking the chicken for 10 minutes, taste it and adjust seasoning as needed.

Keywords: soup, chicken, filipino, tinola, comfort food, fall, winter, green papaya

Green Curry Tofu

Green Curry Tofu

One of our most popular menu items is our Green Curry Shrimp. And it’s easy to see why. It’s rich, creamy, spicy, and full of colorful veggies. I am a firm believer though that vegetarians deserve to get in on the fun too, and that’s read more

Green Curry Shrimp

Green Curry Shrimp

One of the most popular dishes at our restaurant is the Green Curry Shrimp. And it’s one of my favorites too. So I wanted to make a streamlined version that was easier to recreate at home. And I managed to keep all the fresh, herbal read more

Noodle Salad

Noodle Salad

Do you have a go to item that works for any occasion? My Noodle Salad is that kind of dish. Potluck night with friends? Check. Sunday Bbq? Check. Light Luncheon? Yup. A last minute side dish for dinner? Gotcha again. I’ve got nothing in the fridge and I need to eat something now?! We’ve got you covered.

This Noodle Salad is incredibly versatile, goes well with almost anything else you might be serving, but can be served by itself in a pinch, can be made ahead of time, can sit out at room temperature, makes great leftovers, and it’s lightning fast to make. Plus the only cooking required is to boil some water, it can be made with whatever veggies you have on hand, it’s vegetarian, and also gluten free. If that doesn’t tick most of your boxes, you need new boxes. So what are you waiting for?

noodle salad ingredients

Noodle Salad Dressing

Cold noodle salads are very popular in Vietnam. They can include all kinds of grilled meats, seafood, veggies or tofu, and feature addictively tangy dressings. This salad is more pan asian, combining several different influences. The origins of the salad may be Vietnamese but the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in the dressing are definitely more East Asian. It’s a delicious mishmash I think you’ll enjoy. The dressing comes together in minutes, and you can make it ahead of time and keep in the fridge.

dressing noodle salad

Noodle Salad Veggies

With the dressing done, it’s time to prep the veggies. Meal preppers-you can chop everything before hand and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. I picked these vegetables because they are the ones I usually have on hand. You can feel free to substitute the veggies for whatever you like. Sturdy vegetables such as edamame, snow peas, baby kale, cucumber, or radishes would all work well in this salad.

carrots noodle salad

cabbage noodle salad

cilantro noodle salad


Once the veggies are cut, it’s time to make the noodles. I use rice vermicelli noodles. They cook really quickly and they are a delicious gluten free noodle. To cook them, just drop them in a pot of boiling water, turn off the heat, and let them sit for 2-3 minutes. It’s a good idea to check the suggested cooking time on the package, since there are tons of different brands available.

Rinse the noodles under water to cool them down and remove some of the exterior starch. Let them thoroughly drain. I like to chop them so they are more manageable and you can have noodles and veggies in every bite. I know… it’s sacrilege to cut noodles in Asia but practically speaking, Italians have a million different pasta shapes to choose from and we’re mostly stuck with long strands in Asia. What’s a girl to do? Cut, cut, cut!

drain noodle salad

Then I add the veggies and noodles to a bowl and mix it all up.

mix noodle salad

Finally, I dress the noodle salad,  garnish with the fried shallots, and dig in! Don’t leave out the shallots, they add welcomed crunch and flavor.

shallots noodle salad

Noodle Salad is a bright and vibrant meal, or a quick side, and leftovers make an excellent lunch. Give it a try and let me know what you think; leave a comment and rate the recipe, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!

beauty noodle salad


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noodle salad recipe card

Noodle Salad

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese



Dressing :

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tablespoons grated onion

For the Salad: 

  • 4 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles
  • ¼ green cabbage (if you can find taiwanese cabbage use it) shredded, about 2 cups
  • 1 medium carrot julienned
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions finely sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fried shallots


Make the dressing:

  1. In a jar or small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, neutral oil, sesame oil, minced garlic, and grated onion.
  2. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the Salad:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Drop the noodles in and stir.
  2. Turn off the heat and let the noodles sit 2-3 mins.
  3. Drain under cool running water.
  4. Set aside in a colander to drain off all water. You can also lay the noodles on a paper towel or spin it in a salad spinner to remove the water.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the noodles, the cabbage, carrots, spinach, scallions, cilantro, and the dressing.
  6. Toss to incorporate all of the ingredients.
  7. Top with the shallots and serve.

Keywords: noodles, gluten free, vegan, vietnamese