Chicken Adobo – this Filipino favourite is quick & easy to make using simple ingredients and a little bit of an unusual cooking method to produce one of the most deliciously tender and tasty chicken dishes I’ve ever tried.
Chicken adobo is a favourite dish in Filipino restaurants and as the number of restaurants featuring international cuisines continues to grow here in St. John’s, I was able to sample some of that delicious saucy glaze for the first time at Rj Pinoy Yum, which opened this past year. I was struck by it’s deliciously simple yet addictive flavour and of course had to research exactly what went into this delicious dish.
After looking at a dozen or so recipes for Chicken Adobo online, I discovered 2 main things; one, that the ingredients were practically the same in slightly varying amounts in practically all of the recipes and two, that most used a double cooking method of simmering the marinated chicken in the sauce to cook it before then frying it in a little oil to render and crisp the skin. The sauce is then reduced to a slightly sticky glaze with quite and intense flavour to to pour over the chicken and the plain steamed rice it should be served with. After a couple of attempts and little tweaks to the recipe I came up with this version with just a little sweetness that doesn’t in amy way detract from the deep unctuous flavour of the sauce.
It has become a big hit at our dinner table and I know I will make this again and again.
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- 2 pounds chicken legs well trimmed of excess skin and fat.
- 6 cloves minced garlic
- 4 leaves bay
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar you can use white vinegar
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce you can use gluten free soy sauce
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 4-6 tbsp canola oil.
Trim the chicken legs and thighs well of excess fat and skin. I like to remove the backbone portion attached to the thighs for quicker and more even cooking as well. You can use all thighs or all drumsticks in this recipe if you prefer.
Add the trimmed chicken pieces to a large ziplock bag.
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the water and canola oil. Pour this marinade over the chicken in the bag and press out as much air as you can, Place the bag in a shallow pan and marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours, turning the bag over in the dish several times while marinating.
After marinating, transfer both the chicken and marinade, along with 1/2 cup of water to a pot or skillet large enough to fit all the chicken pieces in a single layer.
Simmer slowly for 10 minutes over medium low heat. Turn all of the chicken pieces over and simmer slowly for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and continue to simmer the sauce for several minutes until it thickens slightly to a glaze.
In the meantime heat enough canola oil to a large non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat to cover the bottom. Don't worry, this oil really doesn't get absorbed by the chicken: if anything, it helps to render additional fat from the skin of the chicken.
You want to control the heat carefully here, it should be only high enough so that the chicken does sizzle slowly in the pan but not so high as it will burn the glaze that's left on the partially cooked chicken.
Fry for about 5 minutes per side on the thighs and make about 3 or 4 turns on the chicken drumsticks to make sure the skin gets crisped on all sides. 10 minutes total frying time should be fine.
Remove the chicken from the pan and serve with plain rice. The sauce can be drizzled over the chicken and rice when serving.