Stew: Chicken Adobo


The series on Stew continues with the national dish of the Philippines: Chicken Adobo. If you’ve never tasted Filipino food, you’re in for a treat!

My introduction to Filipino cuisine was less than pleasant. I was 8 years old and my dad took us to a Filipino restaurant and ordered fish soup. The waiter presented a whole fish in a pale broth; the fish was so big it’s head and tail hung off either end of the bowl. An 8-year-old would hold their nose at any fish, but to place a whole, limp fish in front of them is asking for it. So I embarrassed him with gags and “ewws.”

Years later I found the recipe for Chicken Adobo, and immediately my perception of Filipino cuisine began to transform. The ingredients were so familiar and warm. I had to try it.

Adobo literally means “sauce” in Spanish. It’s made by stewing chicken in a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce. A quick Google search reveals that a lot of Filipino dishes are made by stewing in vinegar. I can only imagine the conversation between the Filipinos and the Spanaids. “Yum! What is this!?” “Chicken.” “But what’s this sauce?” “It’s just sauce.” And thus, chicken adobo was born.

The dish is delicious on its own, but I added a few touches. While the chicken stewed, I added tang with tamarind sauce, heat with scotch bonnet pepper and finally some depth with brown sugar.Spoon the Chicken and the sauce over a pile of fluffy white rice, and enjoy with roasted leeks on the side.

The recipe is so simple, and it’s ready in just about an hour. Best of all, doesn’t it look so good?

Filipino Chicken (Adobo)

4 skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup Soy Sauce
½ cup White Vinegar
1 tbsp Tamarind sauce
1/2 tbsp Brown sugar
1 tsp scotch bonnet pepper
1 bay leaf

1. Season the chicken with S&P, dredge it in flour and brown it for a few minutes on each side. It is ready when it is golden brown. Take it out of the pan and set aside.

2. Saute the onions until they are soft (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Deglaze the pan with the soy sauce and white vinegar.

4. Add a Bay leaf and black peppercorns (or just black pepper), as well as the tamarind, sugar and pepper.

5. Return the chicken (including the juices) to the pan.

6. Stew the chicken for about 30-40 minutes.

Check out more pictures:


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