Love this recipe and mess about with it constantly. This is partially because I can usually never get the sayote as it is mostly sold in Oriental stores. My local Lebanese stores, usually very helpful in selling all things Asian, do not have it so I have to go to Chinese or Thai stores in other neighbourhoods. The defining elements of this soup over other chicken soups are the use of ginger and fish sauce. The only reason the Pinoys use sayote is that it is abundant and cheep in the Philippines. In any case from what I've read the real tradition is to use raw, i.e. unripe, papaya but that is not exactly widely available in London either.
I have replaced the sayote with various forms of kale, courgette, and even root veggies. It all works. I have also replaced the onion with leeks, shallot and even celery although I must say that did not quite work. I have also read Pinoy recipes (e.g. Pinoycook) that use pork which does not excite me all that much. Pinoycook does however discuss cooking a chicken liver in the broth and making a dunking sauce with it which does excite me. Must try that next time.
- 2 onions peeled and quartered;
- 6 slices of ginger peeled (1-2 inches length);
- 1 chicken;
- 8 or so new potatoes peeled;
- 2 sayote (Chayote, Christophene, vegetable pear) peeled and sliced into big chunks;
- Sili leaves;
- salt, pepper;
- Thai (or if you can get it Phillipine Patis) fish sauce;
Simmer over low heat with cover for about 40 minutes. Add potatoes when there is 10 minutes remaining. Add sayote about 5 minutes after potatoes. Then let cool and scrape off the fat from the top.
Serve with rice