I think Chicken Adobo or Adobong Manok somehow represents the Filipino cuisine. If you check big international recipe websites, they will have this dish in the list. It is so popular and uniquely delicious that people all over the world want to get a taste of it.
In this recipe article, we would be covering what is Chicken Adobo (including some variations you could try, how to cook, some notes on the ingredients) as well as some cooking tips and secrets. Take note of these and you’re guaranteed a family-approved adobo.
I hope you take time to read through as this will help you achieve the tastiest Chicken Adobo every time.
What is Chicken Adobo (Adobong Manok)?
Chicken Adobo or Adobong Manok is a popular Filipino dish but it originated from the Spanish word adobar or marinate. By virtue of its etymology, it is a dish that involves marinating the chicken meat in soy sauce and some spices.
Vinegar is another vital ingredient which is added to this dish. It used to be a preserving ingredient back when there weren’t refrigerators yet. Several Filipino dishes, including adobo, would rely on vinegar because the hot weather could easily spoil food.
Another trivia I learned is that, originally, adobo is cooked white because salt is used instead of soy sauce. It was only when the Chinese traders brought the soy sauce here that we started cooking adobo the way we cook it today.
Is Chicken Adobo healthy? Find out it this article.
Variations of Chicken Adobo
Adobo is a very diverse dish since different regions have their own versions and ways of cooking it. What we will be sharing with you is a basic recipe, but if it is too plain for you, there are a lot of variations that you could try.
Here are a few:
- Chicken Adobo With Potatoes– You can extend your chicken adobo with potatoes. This is a popular add-on, although this will mean carbo-loading specially when you’re having rice as well.
- Chicken Adobo With Eggs– I remember hearing a joke that this dish is also called “mother and child”. Anyway, it is also a common practice to cook adobo with hard-boiled eggs.
- Adobong Manok sa Gata– Gata or coconut milk is a popular ingredient and it is normal for Pinoys to add it to a lot of dishes. Learn more about gata in this article: Gata vs Kakang Gata.
- Chicken Adobo Puti– Another version you could try specially when you’re not a fan of soy sauce or toyo.
- Chicken And Pork Adobo– Another popular adobo dish is the Pork Adobo. If you can’t decide which meat to use, why not both? It’ll taste perfect!
Filipinos are very resourceful when it comes to cooking other chicken parts. The most common chicken parts you can cook “adobo style” are: chicken feet, liver and gizzard, and isaw (intestines). Would you try these?
How To Cook Chicken Adobo
In studying different chicken adobo recipes, I found out that all have the same basic ingredients. However, there are differences in the order of the steps. For example, others simmer the chicken first before they saute, others saute first.
Here’s what we will do for this recipe. We first marinate the chicken in soy sauce and garlic. This will infuse flavors to the chicken meat.
Next we pan-fry or saute the chicken before we add back the sauce. This will brown the chicken and give it a good texture.
Lastly, we cook it in the sauce along with all the necessary ingredients. This step will tenderize the chicken and create a flavorful adobo sauce from the aromatics and the chicken fat.
Notes On Ingredients
You can use any chicken part as long as you cut them into serving sizes. This way, you get the most flavor on each piece. The most common parts are thighs, breasts, and drumsticks.
Some prefer dark soy sauce, some prefer light soy sauce, and some prefer a combination of both. I think it’s a matter of preference in taste and appearance but for this recipe, any soy sauce will do.
Normally, white vinegar is used in this dish. But you can also use cane vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Garlic, for me, is an underrated ingredient in this dish. Adding lots of garlic will enhance the flavor of your adobo. Go ahead and add more than the recipe calls for (see: 8 cooking tips for Filipinos).
Cooking secret: Top your chicken adobo with browned garlic. Cook some chopped garlic in cooking oil until brown then sprinkle them on top of your chicken.
Cooking Tips and Troubleshooting
Here are some cooking tips and secrets you could use and some remedies you could try in case you encountered problems while cooking:
- Marinating is very important. Recipes will call for at least 30 minutes or 1 hour to up to 12 hours or overnight. Of course the longer the better, but the optimal marinating time for this dish would be 3 hours.
- When sauteing the chicken, it is important that you thoroughly do this. So it is advisable that you use a wider pan to properly fit and cook the meat you place in it. In case you don’t have one, you could saute the meat in batches.
- We may be using different brands and types of condiments used in this recipe. That’s why we recommend that you taste them first before using them. This way you could adjust measurements accordingly.
- What will I do if my adobo is too salty? You could counter this by adding sugar, lemon, or olive oil. But be careful and add them little by little until you achieve your preferred taste.
- What will I do if my adobo is too sour? You could counter this by adding sugar and water. Again, do this gradually and taste from time to time.
How To serve
Chicken Adobo is best served warm with freshly cooked white rice (yum!). But it works well with garlic fried rice also. You can also serve this alongside popular Filipino side dishes like achara, tomato-salted egg ensalada, or buttered vegetables.
In case you need to have it as a packed lunch, don’t worry, it’ll still taste good. You can even try doing it ‘binalot’ style by packing it in banana leaves for more authenticity. Don’t forget to add hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, and rock salt!
For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:
Chicken Adobo (Adobong Manok) Recipe
- Cooking Pot
- 1 kg chicken, cut into serving parts
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- 3-4 pcs dried laurel leaves (bay leaves)
- 1 tsp whole peppercorn (pamintang buo)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken with the soy sauce and garlic then mix well.
- Marinate the chicken for about 1 hour, better if you could go for 3 hours.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade (reserve marinade) and pan-fry it when the oil gets hot enough.
- Cook each side of the chicken for about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the marinade including the garlic.
- Add-in the water and bring to a boil.
- Add-in the bay leaves and peppercorn.
- Simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken gets tender.
- Add-in the vinegar but do not stir. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add-in the sugar and some salt to taste. Stir then remove from heat.
- Transfer to a serving plate, enjoy!
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