Poultry & Pork

Breaking the Tradition

Chicken adobo-Duo Dishes

Call us recipe renegades if you will. We just cannot follow those things! We try, but it always fails.   In a good way.  A few weeks ago, we hosted a filipino-themed dinner party with a few friends, and chicken adobo was on the menu. Adobo is something we’ve never made or even tasted, but we knew we had to try it.  We poked around the world wide web to get the basics and consulted foodie experts for a couple of tips. We wanted the dish to be authentic, but with our track record of switching the game up, we already knew the final dish would only border the real thing and then veer just a little to the left. With that knowledge in hand, it was ready, set, go time.  We may not be too close to the original version, but rules are meant to be broken.

A tried and true adobo has a few basic ingredients: vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns.  After that, there seems to be variations and additions depending on who you know or what you read. Maybe a bit of coconut milk, fresh ginger or even ketchup thrown in the mix. We decided to use apple cider vinegar and brown sugar for sweetness, cornstarch to thicken and browning the chicken first to seal in the marinade. Coconut sounded like a fabulous element to throw in, but not in our adobo itself.  Instead we put it in rice, which added a subtle sweetness that mellows the chicken’s tangy flavor.

Chicken Adobo with Coconut Ginger Rice – Serves 4
4 chicken thighs (bone-in)
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cups water
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut, minced
1/2 cup parsley, minced
4 scallions, chopped
Kosher salt

1. In a large bowl or flat dish, combine soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, brown sugar and bay leaves with chicken. Marinate for at least an hour or overnight.

2.  When ready to cook, swirl a bit of olive oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, lay chicken thighs down, leaving marinade in the dish. Brown chicken on both sides, approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.

3. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Pour in marinade and chicken broth and cook until it begins to boil.

4. Once boiling, add chicken again and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes.

5. Whisk 1/4 cup water with cornstarch and add to chicken. Turn chicken pieces over, cover again and cook until juices run clear (approximately 6-9 minutes).

6. For rice, set 3 cups of water to boiling. Sprinkle a little salt into the water. When water begins to boil, add rice and cook according to directions. Once done, toss with scallions, parsley, ginger and coconut.

7. Serve chicken over chicken and drizzle with a little sauce.

Click HERE for printable recipes.


50 thoughts on “Breaking the Tradition

  1. I have been wanting to try adobo as well. The chicken looks good. I always like adding some coconut milk and or shredded coconut to rice!

  2. You know what’s a trip? I had just written an adobo post before this was sent to me. Then, my Twitter stream was filled with people making adobo. We are all on the same wavelength! btw, I like coconut milk, but it’s funny how it causes serious controversy in some circles…

  3. I just tried Chicken Adobo for the first time at a restaurant! (yes, that insect restaurant!)
    I’m going to try this recipe at home.
    Thank you for sharing!

  4. Coconut milk in the adobo is actually really nice, but many people aren’t used to it. It’s a regional variation. You have me wanting to make adobo now. 🙂

  5. How interesting about the shredded coconut in the rice. I’m added coconut milk to rice, but never dried coconut. That would be a nice twist, especially with the hit of ginger.

  6. Some say it does matter how you get there on my site, but I roll with my own kitchen flow…and that dish looks great!

  7. your twist to the usual adobo seems fantastic.And the coconut -ginger rice seems to compliment that dish.

    We also use salted egg and tomato as a side dish to adobo.

  8. There is nothing wrong with changing up a classic recipe and making it your own way. My mom makes adobo all the time. Call it my comfort food. To give it a hint of sweet flavor, she substitutes pineapple juice instead of vinegar.

    Did you two try making sisig yet?

  9. Sometimes the best things happen when you veer to the left of a recipe … and this chicken looks like a case in point. I’ll bet it was awesome with that coconut rice. Yum!

  10. MMMMMMM…..this dish looks superbly delicious! what else can I say? It contains just the flavours that I was craving for,…

  11. wow. beautiful picture, beautiful recipe. and love the way that you go with the flow instead of being bound to a recipe.

    gave you guys an award on my blog. go take a peek.

  12. You know, surprisingly, I’ve never had adobo before. This dish sounds like it would be PACKED with flavor and it really looks delicious!

  13. Not only does that chicken look absolutely divine, but the photo is so great, I feel as if I can grab it off the screen. Beautiul job and mouth watering – bookmarked!

  14. Nice job on the chicken adobe. It is one of my favorite dishes. Looks like you nailed it so well.. I’m so impressed considering you had never tried it before!

  15. My mom is from the Philippines, so this is one of the dishes I grew up on. I love it and your beautiful photo is making me crave this now! I like the ginger-coconut rice touch too. Delicious.

  16. I almost NEVER follow a recipe exactly. Well, unless I am baking something, but even then, I often end up adding something into the mix. I think there is always room for improvement or a personal twist to a recipe. This chicken looks great!

  17. I hear you on not being able to leave a recipe alone. I have such a hard time sticking to the plan.

    Chicken looks great and so does that rice. Coconut is great in everything!

  18. Heh! You are not alone! We can’t leave recipes alone to save our lives… and tradition?? What’s that??!!

    This recipe looks fantastic. LOVE the coconut milk!

  19. I love adobo…and the rice that you have with it…must taste like heaven…ginger and coconut? I really have to try this rice dish…I think I can have it by itself 🙂 YUMMIE!

  20. I’d never heard of Abodo! But all those ingredients sound great– and that picture!! Yum! Sauce looks fantastic!!!

  21. That’s the beauty of adobo – there are basic ingredients but it leaves room for personal flair! As far as adding coconut milk, it’s a preparation that’s considered a specialty in some areas, like my mom’s home province, so definitely give it a try next time. And I love what you’ve the rice! 😎

  22. Nice. You don’t always have to follow tradition. =) well done on you variation of the well-loved Filipino dish. =) As long as you’ve got the main components in there, you’ll do fine.

  23. YAY for the coconut milk and ginger! I think they make perfect sense for this adobo, you know, geographically speaking! I have the hardest time sticking to recipes as well! But, you know, I see them more as guidelines than actual rules… almost like canvases on which to imprint your special signature 🙂

  24. What a loaded with flavor delicious chicken dish. Sounds like it was just perfect! And the rice you created with the ginger and coconut , holy lord, dance on the tastebuds!!

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