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Simple Chicken Adobo and Adobo-flavored Garlic Fried Rice

Chicken adobo simmering on the stove

Some fellow Filipino writers have been waxing poetic on adobo, also affectionately known as the Philippines' national dish. Thought I'd throw in a simple recipe. This is a super duper easy version that takes less than 5 minutes prep time and less than 1 hour to cook. Whenever I make this, the aroma fills the kitchen, seeps into the walls, even extends out the door. The dish is pungent and tasty, tangy with vinegar and soy sauce. Guests salivate from the delicious smell, and whenever family finds out there's adobo cooking on the stove, they come running.

Recipe notes: Marinating is optional—often times I throw everything into the pot and cook right away, and still have perfect results. Feel free to experiment with the type of vinegar (white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, even rice wine vinegar is untraditional, but can also work; or visit an Asian or Filipino market for unique Filipino vinegars); Even the proportion of vinegar to soy sauce can be tinkered with—some cooks use more vinegar for a lighter-colored sauce; others use more soy sauce for a deeper, richer flavor. For a variation, I’ve thrown in ginger, even added chopped onions or mushrooms. But sometimes the best adobo is the bare bones classic—the essence of true adobo is vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, garlic and black pepper. For me, that is enough.

There are never any leftovers, but on the rare occasion that there are, save them—and especially any leftover sauce—for adobo-flavored garlic fried rice for breakfast the next day. Yum.

Simple Chicken Adobo

4-5 lbs. chicken thighs
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns or freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cover and marinate chicken for 1-3 hours. Bring to boil, then lower heat. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer until sauce is reduced and thickened, and chicken is tender, about 20 more minutes. Serve with steamed rice.

Serves 6-8

Adobo-flavored Garlic Fried Rice

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 1 head garlic, peeled and diced
4 cups cooked rice, refrigerated overnight
Leftover adobo sauce (any leftover meat, chop finely)

Place rice in a container and separate grains using your hands. In a nonstick pan, heat oil over medium heat and gently brown garlic, about 30 seconds. Add rice and mix thoroughly until rice is evenly coated. Add adobo sauce and meat, and cook until heated through.

December 08, 2003 at 03:43 PM in From My Kitchen | Permalink


The fried rice recipe looks fantastic -- can't wait to try it out...

Posted by: the wily filipino at December 10, 2003 11:12 AM

Hey Wily Filipino.... Thanks for visiting and for inspiring the adobo poetics! What's next, lumpia? ;-)

Posted by: cld at December 10, 2003 12:11 PM

Hi! I made this chicken adobo tonight, and am having bites in between writing sentences here. :) Oh, boy, this is good!

I made it using a little over 2 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut in half or thirds depending on the size. Unintentionally, I marinated for a little over four hours (had to run for a bit unexpectedly) so marinated it in the fridge instead, but the dish seemed none the worse for wear. In retrospect, I think I should have used a slighly smaller pot, but that's my mistake. :)

All in all this was an easy, flavorful dish. Thanks for the recipe!

Posted by: Robert Daeley at February 7, 2004 07:32 PM

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