Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken Adobo

This recipe is one of my favorites.  Every time I cook it, it takes me right back to living on Maui.  Serve it with sticky rice (Japanese short grain rice) and stir fried cabbage.  Man, talk about something being ono!

The Hawaiian islands have a large Philippine population.  I am glad.  I would not have had the opportunity to learn this wonderful dish if things were different.

Some people state that Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines.  I do not know as I have not had the pleasure of visiting the Philippines.  What I do know, is that this dish is easy and tasty.   In addition to chicken, pork and oxtail are also prepared adobo style.

There are many variations on the basic recipe.  Some have more garlic, some more vinegar, some more black peppercorns.  You should feel free to experiment with the recipe making adjustments in small increments to make the dish yours.  On Maui, the adobo we made at the hotel had a little more vinegar so it was a little more tart.

As the footnotes for the recipe state, the protein item is usually sauteed or pan fried at the end of the cooking.  I have opted to saute at the beginning to build a little caramelization in the pan to put into the cooking liquor.  My recipe does call for marinading the chicken for three hours.  Some people opt to just combine everything and simmer it with out any marinading time.

As you can see by the variations mentioned, this is a dish you can make work for you.  That and the fact that it tastes as good as it is easy to prepare is what is most important.  Enjoy!

Chicken Adobo
Yield: 4 servings

1 ea                  chicken 3 /12 lb, split in half
1/2 cup             white vinegar
½ cup               soy sauce
½  tsp               black peppercorns
1 tsp                 brown sugar
5 ea                  garlic cloves, crushed
3 ea                  bay leaves

Combine all ingredients except chicken and stir to dissolve sugar.
Pour over chicken and marinate 3 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove chicken and brown in hot skillet, skin side first, turning once.
Add marinade and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow the cook for 15 minutes, turning chicken one time half way through the cooking time.
Uncover and allow most of the liquid to evaporate as the chicken cooks, turning the chicken occasionally.
Test for doneness.
There should be little liquid left.

At the end of the cooking time if the skin is rubbery allow to sauté and brown until desired doneness of the skin is achieved.  Traditionally this type of recipe was a simmered dish.  When all the liquid evaporated the protein item was sautéed to give it color and some degree to crust.
As the accompanying pictures show you can use Cornish Game Hens work quite well with the recipe too.
A picture of the Cornish game hens cooking.  They are almost done.
                                                  A photo of the finished game hens
Chicken adobo plate with stir fired cabbage and sticky rice.
 I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.
It is unpretentious, delicious and easy to prepare.
Until next time
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh


  1. I lived in the Phillipines about three years and adobo does seem to be the national dish. We even used chicken gizzards in place of chicken at times. I do not normally eat gizzards but they came out tender and tasty. Thanks for publishing this recipe, I had forgotten how good it is!

  2. Thank you for your comment. Since posting this recipe I have had people remind me that the dish is sometimes made with pork and chicken. One person told me that her mother also added potatoes.
    Your feed back and the feedback of everyone who has commented on this dish is quite nice and appreciated.
    If you try this recipe I hope you will post and let us know how it works for you.
    Thank you once again.
    Chef Leslie Bartosh

  3. I recently watched a show featuring Philippine Adobo and immediately wanted to try it! Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Hi Christopher:
    You are welcome. I hope you will let us all know how the recipe works for you.
    Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!
    chef Bartosh

  5. This doesn't look to good on picture but my teacher on Prostart did it alittle more differently. The recipe we did did look anything like this but its really similar on how it tastes. over all it was great.

  6. Hi:
    Thanks for the comment.
    I am curious to know how the dish you did with your teacher looked different. I am always trying to learn more about food. Most importantly, it sounds like you enjoyed the dish.
    So, thanks for writing. I hope you will let me know the difference.
    Happy Eating