Chicken Adobo Recipe
This Chicken Adobo recipe comes from my mother, a fabulous cook renowned in her rather extensive circle of friends for her parties. As she was Filipino, parties always meant food.
Adobo is the Filipino national dish, a little like a non-sweet teriyaki with sauce to flavor the accompanying rice. I've served adobo to artists and society kids, computer gurus, visiting Internet marketers and health food folk — anyone who happened to be there when the mood struck. It's always been a hit because it's one of those can't-get-enough-of dishes.
With chicken or pork, the sequence is: simmer, fry, boil. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. The sauce is to die for; if you're reheating it on a subsequent day, add a little water but don't dilute the sauce too much.
A word about soy sauce: my favorite is Yamasa with Less Salt, which is less spicy than, say, Chinese soy sauce.
1 chicken, cut up
handful of black peppercorns
garlic cloves, peeled (5-15)
1 large bay leaf
cooking oil (something bland like canola oil)
Simmer: Put chicken, peppercorns and bay leaf in a large pot (dutch oven or large high-walled frying pan). Peel garlic cloves, cut a slice into them, and add to pot. (You can use less garlic, but note that garlic powder does not give the same taste or quality.)
Add soy sauce and vinegar to pot: 5 parts soy sauce to 3 part vinegar. (I just tip the bottle and count "glops" as it pours.) Add some water so the pot is about half full; if you're cooking more, then adjust. Important: the liquid should be pretty brown from the soy sauce, rather than very watered down.
Cover; simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, then remove from heat.
Fry: Pour liquid into a bowl and set it aside. (I do this by slightly opening the top of the pot, tipping and pouring into the bowl.)
Pour some cooking oil into the bottom of the pot and brown the chicken at a high heat. (Cover the pot to keep from splattering.) You may have to take some of the chicken out of the pot to do this easily. You can also brown the garlic lightly.
Remove from heat and let the pot cool. This is important — otherwise, the soy sauce can end up with a burnt taste. You may also want to pour out any residual oil, if you are big on fat-free diets.
Boil: When pot has cooled down, pour the sauce back in. Cover, and boil at medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Adobo is done when the chicken is cooked and tender.
Serve with steamed rice (fresh, cut-up tomatoes are also a nice side dish, as are sliced bananas). I like white rice or Basmati brown (not the California-grown stuff). Typical for Filipino dishes, though, is white pearl rice.
As rice takes a while to cook, it should be started along with the adobo. Wash rice before cooking; this means to rinse the rice quickly in water. The water from a second rinse can be used in place of the water in the adobe recipe. The theory is that the starch from the rice water thickens the sauce.
I could give you the "real" way to cook rice — in all its pot-watching, precise-timing glory — but many of us have opted for the wonderful modern electric rice steamer. <grin>
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