How to make Filipino chicken adobo

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Make chicken adobo, the traditional Filipino way.

If you have ever tried Filipino cuisine, then you are most likely familiar with adobo. The Philippines does not have a national dish, but it could very well be this beloved meal. Most often made by with chicken and pork (or both) in a soy sauce and vinegar braise, with peppercorns, salt, garlic, and bay leaves, this dish is salty, earthy, with the right balance of richness and subtlety of flavour.

As many as there are islands in the Philippine archipelago, there are nearly just as many versions of this national favourite. Some prefer marinating the meat in a creamy coconut milk and chilli mixture, while others favour using vinegar without soy sauce. Turmeric or annatto oil can also be infused in the marinade, while others prefer making adobo with shrimp, fish, or even squid. Some even make use of adobo leftovers to turn them into tasty adobo flakes.

For now we will stick to the basics because the best chicken adobo recipe is often the simplest one, though the many variations are pretty good too!

Best Chicken Adobo Recipe for Beginning Cooks

Servings: 4 to 6
Preparation time: 5 hours (or more)
Cooking time: 1 hour

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 whole chicken, chopped
1 cup of soy sauce
2 cups of vinegar
1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
Salt, to taste
5 bay leaves
2 tsp of ground black pepper
2 tbsp of vegetable oil

Here’s how to make it:

1. In a large bowl, place chopped pieces of chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, chopped garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, and salt. Mix together using a spoon or your hands.
2. Cover the bowl, refrigerate it, letting it marinate for at least five hours. (I personally like to leave the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.)
3. Once done, take a large frying pan and cook chicken in oil over medium high heat. (If you’re using pork, remember that it might take longer to braise.)
4. Continue cooking, turning after about 3 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is fork-tender and brown.
5. Place chicken on a plate, making sure to leave some of the sauce in the pan. Sauté some garlic until brown.
6. Return the chicken to the pan and cover it to continue cooking for 35 minutes, lowering the heat from medium to low midway through.
7. Serve atop a bed of steaming white rice and enjoy!

Tips:

You can refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 to 4 days, or even reheat it to make twice-cooked adobo.
Some even braise adobo in an electric pressure cooker instead of using a skillet or frying pan. The slow cooking makes it even more rich and flavourful.
I personally like coating the chicken in sugar and breadcrumbs before braising adobo to offset the saltiness of the dish.

Adobo is a national favourite and you can surely make it yours by putting your own spin on it! Share what you think is the best chicken adobo recipe with us in the comments below.

Read also: 11 slow cook Asian dishes that will become instant favourites