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Chicken Adobo: Sweet and savory budget meal

By on November 19, 2009

photo by dbgg1979

Chicken Adobo is one of my favorite ways to make chicken. It’s tender, sweet and savory and a great way to use those cheaper dark cuts of chicken, but you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Leftovers are wonderful used as tangy chicken-salad sandwiches by just chopping them up and mixing them with mayonnaise.
This authentic Filipino recipe is from my mother’s recipe file and is a childhood favorite. You’ll be surprised by how simply this pulls together, yet it offers a twist of sophistication. It’s delicious served over steamed white rice. Set the instant boxed rice aside. Cooking white rice is easy. Simply use a 2-to-1 ratio of liquid to rice, don’t stir, and keep the lid on until at least the last five minutes of cooking. If you’re unhappy with your results with rice cooked on the stovetop, invest in a rice cooker. It’s easy to make perfect rice following the manufacturer’s directions. It keeps rice warm until you’re ready to serve, too.

Chicken Adobo Click here for step by step tutorial

1/2 cup white vinegar
1 to 2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 to 2 cups water, depending on how much chicken you have and the size of your pan
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 head garlic, chopped
2 pounds chicken pieces (I use legs or thighs)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Put vinegar, bay leaves, pepper, soy sauce and water in a saucepan. Cover and cook on low about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the cooking oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic, and brown it over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the chicken to the frying pan, and brown it over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
Add the broth and brown sugar to the frying pan and simmer, partly covered, until the chicken is done for 30 to 45 minutes. Do not let it come to a boil.
Remove the bay leaves and serve over white steamed rice.
Serves 4.

Sometimes I make this all in one pan. If I use one pan, I brown the garlic in the oil, add the chicken and brown it, add the remaining ingredients, cover partly and simmer on low for 30 to 45 minutes.
Everyone has different tastes, so adjust the amounts as necessary. Some people aren’t garlic fans, and some think 1/4 cup vinegar is enough or want to add more soy sauce.
Don’t cover your chicken completely with the marinade. Halfway covered is fine. The liquid will thicken a bit, but it will not boil off completely.

White Rice

2 cups water
salt to taste
1 cup long-grain white rice

Place the water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Rinse white rice thoroughly. Add the rice. Cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off heat and keep covered. Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff with a fork. Once it’s cooked, you can add butter and salt.
Serves 4

Spiced oranges make a juicy addition. Slice oranges into thin rounds and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. You can serve this with sliced apples and fresh dates, too.
If you don’t enjoy fresh oranges with a hot meal, here’s a refreshing fruit-beverage alternative that compliments the meal equally as well.

Tropical Lemonade

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 cup water
1 (12-ounce) can peach or apricot nectar
1-1/2 cups ginger ale
1 (12-ounce) can unsweetened pineapple juice
ice cubes

Stir all ingredients together. Serve from a lovely clear glass pitcher. Garnish with fresh lemon slices and maraschino cherries, if desired.
Serves 6.


  1. Darlene

    11/19/2009 at 2:24 pm

    I am so glad you shared your recipe for Chicken Adobo with me Sara, it’s one of my all time favorites and made it just last week. The leftovers never last long as I nibble little bites when the fridge gets opened. I just can’t resist. So good!

  2. Sara Noel

    12/9/2009 at 2:26 am

    Thanks. I always think of my mom when I make it. True confession: I didn’t like it as a kid.

  3. Michelle

    6/10/2012 at 5:46 pm

    Still a favorite in our house. 🙂

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