Chicken Adobo

This easy to make recipe is from the Philippines. You might think it was just your garden variety chicken and rice dish, but the sauce is so good it takes it to a whole other level. It’s rich, tangy, tart and kinda sweet all at the same time. Maybe like a Filipino version of BBQ sauce…but honestly that description does not do it justice at all. You just have to taste it, you’ll see what I mean. I got it from Mark Bittman’s cookbook How to Cook Everything, which I LOVE and highly recommend for the sheer number of recipes, but also the tips and helpful info he offers.

I’m pretty sure I remember Anthony Bourdain talking about Adobo on a recent episode of No Reservations? It’s a very popular Filipino dish and this recipe can be made with chicken or pork, but I remember him saying there are tons of variations. If they are all as good as this, then I need to find more Filipino recipes because I could eat this stuff every day.

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo

adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Dinner | Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 35 min | Total time: 45 min

Ingredients

  • 1 (3-4 lb.) whole chicken, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 8 pieces*
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white or rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk**
  • Cooked white rice (enough for however many people you are serving)

*I buy a pre-cut whole chicken because I am lazy and have bad knife skills to boot. If you didn’t want to do a whole chicken, it would be perfectly fine to use breasts or whatever you like. He also says this recipe works well with bone-in or boneless pork chops.

**Bittman says this isn’t mandatory, but since the sauce is the most important part of this dish, I wouldn’t leave this out if I were you, it won’t be nearly as rich. I had canned coconut milk on hand, which works just fine, but he says it’s easy to make yourself and tastes purer than canned, so I’m providing his recipe below if you want to attempt that.

Process

  1. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, pepper, water, and half the coconut milk in a covered skillet or saucepan large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, turning a few times, until the chicken is almost done, about 20 minutes.

    Optional: At this point, you may refrigerate the chicken in the liquid for up to a day before proceeding; skim the fat before reheating.

  3. Heat the oven to 450 degrees (F). You can also cook this on a grill or under a broiler, but roasting seemed easiest to me.
  4. Remove the chicken pieces from the liquid, dry them gently with paper towels and place in a dish. Don’t discard the sauce. Roast the chicken until brown and crisp and hot, about 15 minutes (closer to 10 if you are grilling or broiling instead).
  5. While the chicken is cooking, add the rest of the coconut milk to the sauce in the pan and boil over high heat until sauce is thick and reduced to about 1 cup. Discard the bay leaves and keep warm until chicken is ready.

Serve with rice and top with lots of sauce.

Coconut Milk

adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut meat

Process

  1. Combine the coconut with 2 cup very hot water in a blender. Pulse on and off quickly, then turn on the blender and let it work for 15 seconds or so. Let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Put through a strainer, pressing to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the solids and use the milk immediately or store, covered in the fridge for up to a few days.