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Taste The World: Chicken Adobo Recipe [Philippines]

If you’ve never had authentic Filipino food, it’s something to add to your list.

Food for the Hungry has been working in the Philippines since 1978, doing a range of work with indigenous communities on livelihoods, education, and health. Because the Philippines is actually an island chain of over 7,600 islands, FH’s works focuses heavily as well on helping communities build resilience against the consequences of climate change, especially during typhoon season.

I have the honor of having a Filipino relative and she has expanded my taste for food tremendously in the past five years. (Not quite to the point of eating rice for every meal, but it’s a start!) Lucky for you, she also agreed to help me with this recipe. Today, we will be using this Chicken Adobo recipe, which is a very authentic and popular Filipino dish. The great thing about this dish is that it is so versatile, you can serve it with just about anything you would like. We chose to serve it with rice, but you could eat it alone or with a side of vegetables.

What’s In A Chicken Adobo Recipe?

Chicken Adobo is made using the Inadobo style of cooking, which refers to cooking meat with vinegar and a good amount of soy sauce. This method was started a long time ago when freezers and refrigerators were not available. Vinegar helps keep the food fresh for longer. The need to preserve foods in this way is no longer as relevant, but the flavor has stayed.

Ingredients for Chicken Adobo on a cutting board

Ingredients for Chicken Adobo: 

2 lbs of chicken cut into serving sized pieces (feel free to use bone-in or boneless)

3 tbsp cooking oil

1 small onion, sliced

½ tomato, diced

2 inches of ginger root, peeled and sliced

5 cloves garlic crushed

1 tbsp bouillon powder 

8 tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 cups water

1 tsp whole peppercorn

3 pieces dried bay leaves

4 tbsp white vinegar

4 chili peppers (optional)

1 tsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt


Let’s get cooking! First, you’re going to want to brown your chicken drumsticks by frying it on the stove. The goal is not to cook the chicken all the way through, just brown the sides, as this will allow the flavor to marinate deeper into the chicken. Once the chicken has browned, set it to the side and add the sliced onions and sauté in the same oil the chicken was browned in. After about 5 minutes, add the diced tomato, sliced ginger, and crushed garlic. Sautee a little more and then add the browned chicken to the pan.

Raw chicken frying in a pan on the stove Raw onions frying in a pan on the stove A pan of onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger frying on the stove.

Next, add the soy sauce, water, and bouillon to the mixture. Mix well. Add the bay leaves and peppercorn on top and leave to simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Be sure to turn the chicken in-between to make sure it is fully cooked. After 30 minutes, add the vinegar and chili peppers (optional). After you have added those, cook for another 10 minutes, then add the brown sugar and salt. Stir and remove from heat. Feel free to sprinkle any preferred garnishes on top. 

Finished photo of Chicken Adobo ready to eat

Your Chicken Adobo is ready to eat!

It is common to eat over rice, but you can also eat by itself or with a preferred vegetable. Enjoy!


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