Clay Pot Cooking “Tinolang Halaan (Clam Soup)”

Clay Pot Cooking “Tinolang Halaan (Clam Soup)”

Tinola is a native Philippine dish and its history dates back from the 19th century. Although it is not know who invented the recipe, the dish has become a popular meal in every Philippine household. During the rainy season the Tinola is the best companion on your dinner table. Join me today as I share with you a soup that could warm your heart and belly.


Tinolang Halaan (Clam Soup)

In my childhood years I still remember how my grandmother prepared the Tinola for lunch. Sitting on a long old dinner table I patiently wait for the soup to be served. The aroma of the sauteing ingredients fills the kitchen and is an invitation for the family members that lunch is almost ready. Various types of meat can be used in this dish. The most popular meat to use is chicken but other options are pork, fish, sea mussels and the one that we would be preparing today is clams.

From my previous post last week Beach Memories “Grilled Pork Belly”

The soup dish was featured but I did not include the recipe. As requested by @rwedegis he would like to see the preparation. We used sea mussels last time but the ingredients and preparation is the same for the clams that we would be using today.

We love chili and we have a plant in a pot that is thriving. As you could see there are already some flowers and soon we would have some fresh chili. We would not be using chili in this recipe but instead we would be getting a few leaves from the plant.

This dish is simple and is very easy to prepare and just a few ingredients needed.


  • Unripe papaya
  • Ginger
  • Chili pepper leaves
  • Sugar
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Clams
  • Chicken or beef soup stock

Slice up your papaya, ginger and set aside.

Now for the clams and it is advisable to soak them in water with a little salt for a couple of minutes. In this method it would expel some of the sand and dirt that maybe inside the shell.

These clams are so fresh and was squirting water like crazy. In our market everyday you could get different sorts of seafood fresh from the boats.

Time to fire up the wood stove and get that clay pot really hot. As for the wood we still have a lot of old fruit crates that we got from the market. A cheap way to save on the liquid petroleum gas that we use for cooking. Prices has gone up and it’s a great idea to do this at least once a week.

Pour in some oil and does not matter what type you use. Once it smokes up you are ready to saute your ingredients.

The slices ginger goes in first and the aroma of sauteing ginger is quite amazing.

Next just take a handful of clams and add them in the mix. Clams cooks very quickly and we just need a few for now to release some flavor. Later on we will add the rest of them. I also dropped in around three slices of papaya. I don’t know why I did that but it should be fine.

Pour in a cup of two of the chicken or beef stock. It would depend on you how much soup you would like to prepare. In the process drop in the other slices of the unripe papaya.

I always love to add a little sweetness and just sprinkle a dash of sugar.

Give it a couple of grinds of pepper. Although you could use pepper corns I love using my pepper grinder.

Now cover it and wait for the papaya to soften up. You would need to check if it is soft enough and if you could split it easily with the ladle it’s ready.

With the papaya softened up, now is the time to add in the rest of the clams.

Put in the chili leaves and my preference is more when it comes to the leaves.

Give it a little stir and get some of the leaves submerged at the bottom.

I could smell it already and we are almost done.

Cover it for a few minutes to allow the clams to cook. They cook very quick and we do not want to over cook them. As you check if all the clams have opened up it’s ready to serve.

Here we are ready to serve on the table. Savor a spoonful of soup and enjoy the seafood goodness on every sip.

A dish which features our culture and could bring a smile to every palate. When it rains I always have a craving for this dish. A sentimental dish which brings back memories when life was simpler and nothing to worry about. Make your own memories and enjoy this simple meal with the people that you love.


Thanks for joining me and I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Eat and enjoy life, love as it makes the world go round and live as if it were your last.


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All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 Sigma 50mm 1.4