Chicken Adobo with Rice

By • February 11, 2014 • 28 Comments



Author Notes: Adobo is comfort food for Filipinos: amazingly simple to whip up, with the ability to drop-kick the winter doldrums with the agility of a ninja. Vinegar and soy sauce work together in harmony to bring out the best in garlic and soften whole black peppercorns just enough to where when you bite down on one, its yields easily, filling your mouth with a welcome cheek-numbing spice that cuts through vinegar's tang. I learned this recipe from my friend Lidy Chan, who moved to the states over 20 years ago. It's one of her go-tos, and now one of mine. Jackie Varriano

Food52 Review: For such minimal effort and just a handful of humble ingredients, this dish knocked my socks off. As soon as I inhaled the intoxicating aroma of the garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar hitting the hot pan, I knew I was in for some zippy deliciousness. But the standout element is the black pepper; I was tempted to cut back on it, and I’m glad I didn’t. Softened into submission, the peppercorns are piquant surprises (pleasantly so) between bites of rich, tender chicken. Next time, I’ll pour off a little fat after searing the chicken thighs, but other than that I wouldn’t change a thing.Midge

Serves 4

  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped (optional)
  1. Rinse chicken thighs and pat dry. In a large bowl, place chicken and sprinkle with salt, black pepper and garlic powder, turning to coat each piece thoroughly.
  2. In a Dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Place the chicken thighs or drumsticks in a single layer in the skillet, working in batches if necessary, and fry for three minutes until golden brown. Turn, and fry another three minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Pour in the vinegar, soy sauce, water, peppercorns, bay leaves, and garlic. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken back into the pot and cook slowly, covered for 45 minutes or until so tender that the chicken meat falls off the bone.
  4. Pour over rice, garnish with scallions.

Comments (28) Questions (0)

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about 1 month ago oldkitcheninflatbush

A Filipino restaurant makes this but, they use rice vinegar, add coconut milk and reduce the sauce. I've made it that way. It's always a huge hit.

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about 1 month ago Perla Adams

made this all the time

Ribs

about 1 month ago Kevin French

2x this recipe (2.5x for chicken, or 5 lbs) and it was a huge hit. Used cider vinegar. For Rice, basmati. Wife and two kids (9 and 7) loved this. It is really quite easy and something that 1. will be added to the rotation and 2. a dish that is quite easy when guests come around.

Took a suggestion from a review and strained the solids from the broth. Made is simple to pour on top of the chicken and rice. Thanks for such a great recipe!

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3 months ago Ginja Ninja

I made this for dinner last night. Echoing what others have said, it was super simple and super delicious. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs which cut the cooking time down to about 30 minutes. I served it with quinoa instead of rice. All in all, a keeper!

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3 months ago BakerK

This dish was absolutely fabulous! As other readers recommended, I omitted salt (It is still plenty salty) and let the dish cook uncovered for the final 15 minutes. I highly recommend for an easy and delicious weeknight meal.

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3 months ago klok

Just tried this..so easy, so simple..most importantly, SO GOOD! I love the recipe's simplicity, few ingredients, and big flavor.. The hubby is going to love this.

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4 months ago Dustin

Signed up just to review this. Fantastic. Made it tonight for the wife and I, both loved it. Used the legs and the wings, didn't have peppercorns so I subbed capers, added in some dried mushrooms, mixed it up on the vinegar by adding half white/half cider/ and a bit extra pomegranate vinegar. Skipped the salt, didn't miss it. I just crushed the garlic instead of chopping it. Super easy, super flavorful. This will be a standard.

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4 months ago amandawilkins

I made this for my husband, who is Filipino, and he said it had excellent flavor and was less greasy than traditional adobo. I made a few tweaks to cut down on the greasiness: I browned all the chicken with the skin on, and then removed the skin from half the pieces before adding them into the sauce. After the 45 minutes of stewing, I removed the chicken and poured the sauce through a strainer into a measuring cup, waited a few minutes for the sauce to separate and skimmed off the fat. This had the added bonus of straining out the bay leaves and peppercorns--an unpleasant surprise if you mistakenly bite into them! Next time, I may reduce the sauce further before staining, just to thicken the consistency, but it's not an essential step--it was excellent as is! I'll be adding this recipe to my regular repertoire.

Stringio

4 months ago Lorianna Giarrizzo

Made this a few nights ago using boneless chicken thighs, and it came out great! I will definitely be making it again. I also took the tip others mentioned about taking the lid off teh last 15 min (I just placed the lid ajar) and the sauce came out a great consistency. Next time, I may omit the salt since the soy sauce is plenty salty already.

Stringio

4 months ago Beverly Reyes

As a Filipina, I can say this is my favorite Filipino dish. I skip the pan frying & just put everything into a big pot. A couple of changes, no need for extra salt w/ soy sauce and rather than add olive oil, I leave the skins on the thighs (but remove half way so it isn't all greasy). I use white wine vinegar too for a milder taste. I use more water too to ensure that the chicken is well covered. It reduces quite a bit if you cook it long enough. Doesn't work well with chicken breasts & definitely needs to have the bones in. Also, it does make a great slow cooker dish but keep in mind not leaving the skins in the whole time - maybe if you just used half w/ skin on.

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5 months ago phyllis

I cooked this tonight using a mix of boneless and pieces of chicken with bones, all white meat. I followed the recipe pretty much as is except I added some chili peppers. Leaving the lid off for 15-20 minutes makes a huge difference in concentrating the flavors. Just prior to serving, I added a squeeze of lime. The dish is very tasty and I will definitely cook it again. Thank you.

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5 months ago Donna C.

Take the cover off and simmer for the last 15 mins. turning the chicken as well, this will help to give the chicken the colour you are looking for. Be careful not to scorch the sauce, you may need to add an ounce of water if it gets too thick. I removed the skin before frying and it was perfect!

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5 months ago MR

It's nearly impossible to brown skinless chicken because it's the fat in the skin that is undergoing the chemical reaction to brown. If you use skinless chicken legs you are losing a lot of flavor. Here's some more information: http://en.wikipedia.org...

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5 months ago GSmodden

This was very tasty. I used skinless chicken legs and thighs. But my chicken didn't come out as nicely browned as in the picture. Is that because I used skinless chicken so the meat didn't absorb as much of the sauce or because I didn't brown the chicken long enough?

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5 months ago Zensister

This tastes exactly like the adobo I beg my coworkers to bring to potlucks instead of lumpia.

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5 months ago Donna C.

I have made chicken adobo before but never been to happy with the results. Usually all you can taste is too much salt, this recipe I omitted the salt on the chicken before frying and used sodium reduced soy sauce apple cider vinegar and 2 Tbsp. of honey.
Could have doubled up on the sauce though. Best recipe so far for chicken adobo!

Skatedoggy

5 months ago lunch_jr

Yes I agree. The salt with the soy sauce can be too much. Like you, I have omitted the salt and used reduced sodium soy sauce with great results.

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5 months ago Jen

Has anyone tried this in a slow cooker?

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5 months ago Priscilla L.N.

Other than that, the recipe looks absolutely mouth watering and I can't wait to try it!

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5 months ago Priscilla L.N.

No, no, no! Please do not rinse your chicken before using it! There is absolutely no reason to rinse chicken and you are only increasing your chance of cross contamination by rinsing. I know that's the way our Mothers did it, but according to the most recent health and safety guidelines, chicken should never be washed.

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5 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Saved to my must-try-soon collection. Looks fantastic! ;o)

Skatedoggy

5 months ago lunch_jr

This is very similar to my lovely Filippina moms recipe, which is my ultimate comfort dish. Her version is super saucy and thick by way of adding quartered potatoes for starch, while also reducing and adding more liquid to taste. If you have time, reduce a couple times- you wont be sorry. I also like to add some cayenne to make it spicier. That sauce+sticky rice...mmmmmm