Chicken Adobo A Filipino Dish

Chicken adobe cooking to impress
Are You Ready to Cook Adobo?

Chicken Adobo A Filipino Dish

Chicken Adobe, the Philippines on a plate. Having lived in the Philippines for many years, I have grown to like a number of Filipino dishes. Adobo is considered the national dish of the Philippines and to many, it is the ultimate comfort food. Being a national dish really means everyone has their own way of cooking it. Adobe is also a way of cooking not just a dish. Adobo is cooking with vinegar. It is similar to making Fish Ceviche, which in the Philippines is called Kinilaw na Isda. While ceviche does not use any heat to cook, adobo uses both.

Many different types of meat and kinds of seafood can be used to make adobo. The Most common is chicken adobo followed by pork adobo, as well as chicken and pork adobo. When I was living in the Philippines, I would make Adobong Pusit (Squid Adobo) each month around the full moon. It has nothing to do with being a werewolf. Squid move closer to the surface during a full moon making them easier to catch. Prices in the market could drop as much as 50%.

Cooking To Impress Chicken Adobo

There are many ways to cook adobo. One of my friends cooks hers in a frying pan, reducing the sauce until it is thick and clinging. I cook mine in a saucepan with enough juice to almost be considered a soup. There is nothing better than smothering a cup of rice with a great adobo sauce. Many recipes will tell you to marinate the meat or poultry overnight. I do not do that, just let it simmer a little longer does just as well.

Back in the old days before refrigeration, and for those in the Philippines who do not own one, Adobo was cooked with the plan for leftovers. Even in the tropical climate, adobe could sit overnight or two and still be good. I would recommend refrigerating the leftovers and planning on making enough for leftovers. It is as good if not better the second day.

What to Use to Make Chicken Adobo

In the Philippines, you will often see in the market what they call an adobe cut. Basically, the butcher has removed the breast meat from a whole chicken which sells for a premium and chopped the remainder in large pieces. I generally use chicken leg quarters but have been known to use thighs or drumsticks. Leg quarters are the cheapest cut of a chicken but very flavorful. In the United States, you will generally find them at around a dollar a pound. Recently, I found a brand name 10 pounds (4.54 kilogram) bag at $5.98. It is dark meat, so it has a higher fat content than the white meat portions. However, it is still better than red meats.

A comment on soy sauce and vinegar. Soy sauce has high salt content, so consider using a low salt version. Also, when you start making this recipe try using the same brand each time. Different brands have different salt content. I recommend a white cane vinegar, but feel free to experiment.

Let’s Get Ready To Impress

This recipe with rice will create 2 dinner servings and a lunch, Let’s get started:

You will need:

  • A saucepan with a lid. 2 to 3 quarts is a good size.
  • Large fork or tongs.
  • Serving spoon.
  • Knife and cutting board. If your chicken is too large for the saucepan.


  • 2 pounds (0.91 kg) of chicken bone-in.
  • 1 cup (0.24 l) soy sauce (extra available)
  • 1 cup (0.24 l) vinegar (extra available)
  • 1 cup (0.24 l) water
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (may be omitted)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (if browning chicken)
Chicken Adobe
Slowly Simmer

Here we go!!

A healthy option before we start. I brown my chicken with the skin on when I start. If you prefer not to use the skin, skip the browning step and do not add the oil.

  • Start by laying out all of your ingredients.
  • Heat the saucepan and the oil, turn on the exhaust fan
  • When hot add the chicken and brown
  • Lightly brown the chicken then add the vinegar
  • When the vinegar starts to boil, add the soy sauce.
  • Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, ginger, water, reduce heat, and cover
  • Simmer for 20 minutes
  • Taste the juice, if either the soy sauce or vinegar seem overpowering add a little of the other.
  • Start your rice
  • Simmer until the chicken starts to fall off the bone, possibly another 10 minutes.
Cooking to impress on a budget
Filipino Comfort Food — Add More Juice After Taking Photo


This can be a difficult dish to plate as one of the key elements is the juice. Serving this family-style is a good option. Often, I will just use a large bowl. It is comfort food after all.

The soy sauce can be the most expensive item here. I seem to be always running out, so I started to buy in restaurant size, which lowers my cost greatly. If you use $1 a pound for your chicken, the cost for two dinners and lunch leftover is about $4.

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