The food in the Philippines is highly influenced by more than 300 years of Spanish rule. This also means Filipino food differs greatly from the rest of the South East Asian cuisine. Adobo is considered by many as the national dish, although it originally hails from Mexico
Adobo refers to the method of cooking and it means cooking in lots of vinegar, soy sauce and garlic. The vinegar commonly used in the Filipino cuisine is made from coconut palm sap, which is cloudy white. We prefer cooking with coconut oil for its flavour, but as recent research has uncovered, coconut oil is also a great choice health wise. When I say “we”, it’s because I am Filipina, in case you haven’t noticed
Every Filipino kitchen always carries soy sauce, coconut oil and vinegar. They are the basic ingredients for many of our traditional dishes.
If desired, the chicken can be replaced with pork. Regardless of the choice of meats, this dish tastes much better if you can marinate the meat overnight.
TIP: For the best flavour, make this dish the day before eating. Store it in the fridge overnight and reheat the next day.
If you are in a hurry, you could skip the browning part and just simmer the meat. Adobo can also be made in a crockpot. Just add the ingredients and the chicken or pork and cook in low heat for 6 hours.
If you decide to try this recipe, please let me know how it turn out in the comments section.
Kainan na! (Bon appetit!)
- 1 whole chicken 4 to 5 lbs. or same amount of chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
- ¼ cup white vinegar or Filipino coconut vinegar (suka)
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar, optional
- 1 medium red onion, cut into rings
- Rinse the chicken in and out and cut into pieces. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the coconut oil and the red onions. Marinate for a few hours in the fridge or overnight for a better taste.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Fry the chicken pieces on both sides until lightly brown; you may need to do it in a few batches.
- Add the marinade and the chicken into a frying pan or pot; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
- Remove the cover; continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced to half, about 15 minutes.
- Add the onion rings and cook for a few more minutes.
- Typically served with rice, but it can also be served with fried white or sweet potatoes.
(1) For a sweet and thick sauce, add ¾ cup of creamy coconut milk.
(2) For a more spicy taste, add either a jalapeno pepper or a few Thai chilies.
(3) For a sweet and sour flavour, add a cup of pineapple pieces.