Tag: filipino

Ube Pancakes

Ube Pancakes

Last week I showed you how to make Ube Halaya, also known as purple yam jam, and this week I’m going to share a truly magical way to use it. Breakfast, brunch, a late night snack…there’s really no time that a person would turn down read more

Ube Halaya

Ube Halaya

If there’s one thing I love it’s a double duty recipe that is absolutely stellar on its own, but can also be used as a component in other dishes. And this Ube Halaya, also known as purple yam jam, falls in that category. Ube Halaya 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

Salted Egg Salad

Salted Egg Salad

The funk of salted eggs, long a beloved Asian flavor, is finally catching on here in the states, and I am here for it!  If you are not familiar with this trendy ingredient, my Salted Egg Salad is a perfect place to start. This is read more

Halo halo

Halo halo

I love traveling: discovering new places, seeing new things, and especially eating new things. Even though exotic destinations have been put on hold, there are still plenty of fun and interesting destinations here at home. One city I visit often that always inspires me in read more

Turon (fried banana spring rolls)

Turon (fried banana spring rolls)

Sometimes you just want a simple but delicious dessert-you know, when you’re done with dinner, but still craving a little sweet bite. Turon, a Filipino specialty, really fits the bill. Basically a dessert version of the famed Lumpia spring rolls enjoyed all over the Philippines, Turon features a crispy exterior wrapped around a warm fruity filling. Usually banana, but coconut and mango are also common. They are deep fried and then cooked in caramel.

I streamline the process by baking them and making a simple salted caramel sauce to dip the Turon in. My version is also a little East meets West with a cream cheese filling chock-full of banana and jackfruit. Intensely aromatic jackfruit is the surprise element in this familiar dessert that gives it a little pop. So to recap, crispy little bundles filled with oozing warm cheesecake and fruit, dipped into a luscious caramel sauce. And while there are a lot of steps, most of it can be made ahead of time, making these Turon a perfect dinner party dessert-so let’s go!

turon ingredients

Caramel Sauce

Is there anyone who doesn’t like caramel sauce? The alchemy that happens when sugar meets heat is nothing short of magic. And it’s easier to make than you might think. You can make it up to two weeks ahead but let’s be honest-the likelihood of having any left after two weeks is slim to none. A word of caution, there’s no burn like a sugar burn. Use a deep pot, and watch for it to foam up when you add the cream.

I like to do a wet caramel, starting with sugar and just enough water to cover the sugar. You can also make caramel dry with just sugar in the pan. The reason I like to add water is because it’s really a fool proof method and you never have to worry about burning the sugar. Have you ever watched the Great British Baking Show? I LOVE that show. My family and I binge watch the series when a new season drops. And do you know what happens every season? Without fail, a couple of bakers will burn their caramel. I always think to myself, why do they start off with a dry pan? Add some water people! It does take a couple more minutes with wet caramel, because the water has to cook out of the pot, but I’ve never once had to start my caramel over.


Once the sugar is dissolved, stop stirring and let the heat do its thing. (Don’t touch it once the sugar water starts to simmer, otherwise the sugar crystals could start to re-form). The sugar will start to change color-first a yellow and then gradually turning brown. The darker the caramel gets it, the less sweet it will be. I let it get really dark, because I love the almost bitter complexity that adds to the sauce, but your mileage may vary. If you want a purely sweet caramel, remove from the heat as soon as it starts turning amber. Don’t walk away, because these changes happen pretty quickly.

amber turon

butter turon

Turon Filling

Sure, this cheesecake stuffed spring roll dipped in caramel may not be health food, but it is less decadent than it sounds- more a crisp and creamy hot fruit dessert, and less a rich dense cheesecake. Furthermore, if you’ve never had jackfruit before, you’re in for a treat. It tastes like the tropics it grows in, sort of a combo of mango, banana, and pineapple. Jackfruit has lots of health benefits and you can even eat the boiled seeds, which taste like chestnuts.

Fresh jackfruit is huge and looks like a light green alien pod. It’s quite a bit of work to hack it into pieces, peel it, and pop out the fruit. Fortunately, it comes conveniently canned. For this recipe, look for ripe jackfruit, not young. The young jackfruit, which is picked green, is typically used for savory dishes. The filling for the Turon should chill before being used, so it can thicken. If you have the time, go ahead and make it a day ahead and let it rest in the fridge.

bananas turon


flour turon

chill turon

Letting the filling chill makes it much easier to scoop out and fill the wrappers. It’s also super convenient because you can have the caramel and the filling ready the day before you plan to serve. Before starting to wrap the Turon, stir together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. This slurry will be used to seal the sprig rolls.

scoop turon

Make sure to eliminate any air pockets when rolling, which will keep the turon tightly wrapped and neat.

roll turon

Repeat with the rest of the wrappers until all the filling is used. You should yield about 18 spring rolls.

parchment turon


Pile the Turon high on a platter, and serve with caramel sauce. If you’re feeling particularly decadent, serve with some ice cream as well. Hey, calcium is very important. This is such an impressive looking dessert, and so highly delicious, be prepared for lots of oohs and ahhs. Let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe; we love hearing from you. And we want to see your beautiful Turon, tag us @funkyasiankitchen.

turon beauty


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turon recipe card

Turon (fried banana spring rolls)

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: sweets
  • Cuisine: Filipino


  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1 can ripe jackfruit, drained (8 oz)  
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 18 pieces spring roll wrappers (7”)
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Oil spray

For Caramel:

  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Peel bananas and chop them coarsely.
  2. Take the jack fruit and also chop coarsely. Put the jackfruit and the banana in a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the fruit and mix to combine.
  4. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and cream cheese to the fruit and mix to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Stir the cornstarch together with 2 Tablespoons of water in a small cup. Set aside.
  6. Set the oven to 400 and move the rack to the middle shelf.
  7. Peel the spring roll wrappers apart as they tend to stick to each other. Put 1 sheet in front of you with the corner pointing towards you. Put 2 heaping tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture a little lower than the middle of the spring roll wrapper. Fold the corner over the filling and then pull back against the filling to eliminate any air pockets. Then roll once, fold the corners in, and continue rolling almost to the end. 
  8. Dip a small spoon or a small brush in the cornstarch water and brush the edges of the wrapper and finish rolling to seal. 
  9. Put the spring roll seam side down on a platter and repeat with remaining ingredients to create 18 spring rolls.
  10. Cover the bottom of a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and spray generously with oil. Place the spring rolls on the parchment paper and spray the tops of the spring rolls with the oil. 
  11. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes (spraying with oil again halfway through cooking time) until the rolls are golden brown and crisp.
  12. Serve with salted caramel sauce.

For the Caramel:

  1. Add the sugar and water to a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan. Heat sugar on medium high heat. As the water warms, quickly stir with a whisk or wooden spoon just to help dissolve any sugar crystals on the sides of the pot. (However, as soon as the pot starts simmering, stop stirring immediately. Moving the sugar around once it starts simmering can re-form sugar crystals).
  2. Continue cooking, without touching, until the sugar starts to change from a light yellow to golden and then to an amber brown, about 8 minutes.You can swirl the sugar syrup gently, holding the pot handle, to get a uniform color.
  3. As soon as the color changes to an amber color, remove the pan from the heat, and slowly add the cream to the pan and use a whisk to incorporate. (Be very careful as the contents of the pan will foam up).
  4. Then add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted and the caramel sauce is smooth. Add the salt and stir again to combine.
  5. Let the caramel cool in the pan until the caramel is room temperature and then pour it into a storage container. Use it immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let it come to room temperature before serving.


* The filling for the spring rolls is very loose and is easier to scoop after an overnight rest in the fridge. If you don’t have the time, refrigerate for as long as you can. The spring rolls may be a little harder to roll and develop some cracks when baking, but they will still taste great.

*Spraying your spring rolls generously and evenly with oil is necessary to achieve good browning and crisp texture. If your spring rolls still look a little pale after you’ve baked them, spray once more and broil them for a couple of minutes to get a nice golden color.

 *The darker the sugar for the caramel gets, the deeper the flavor, but the less sweet the sauce. I don’t like a sugary sauce, so I let my caramel get pretty dark before adding the cream. If you prefer sweeter desserts, take the sugar off the heat when it gets to a medium amber color. You can also add a Tablespoon of sugar after the sauce is finished to increase sweetness.

*This caramel sauce is made for dunking the spring rolls so it is loose and runny. For a thicker sauce, use ½ cup of cream. The caramel sauce will thicken as it cools.

Keywords: dessert lumpia, filipino desserts, fried banana spring rolls, jackfruit, caramel