There’s adobo, and there’s adobo, my mom would say. This recipe is for Adobong Manok (chicken adobo), but you can do it with pork shoulder (for pork adobo), you can do it with fish, or even vegetables like our Adobong Kangkong. Our Chicken Adobo is a type of Filipino chicken stew. The Chicken pieces are marinated in soy sauce and spices, pan-fried, and stewed until tender.
The Filipino Adobo can get very addicting, and it’s usually a gateway food that starts others when discovering Filipino dishes. Moms love it because it’s frugal, has simple ingredients, and you can find them all in your pantry! You can cook it in under 30 minutes, and it’s also very easy to serve, -pair it with white rice or even pasta.
For most Pinoy, cooking chicken adobo is like an instinct. We don’t even have an exact adobo recipe and just basically puts them together for 15 minutes or so or until chicken is done. And there’s really no right way or wrong way on how to cook adobong manok.
History tells us that our Adobo far predates the Spanish colonization and adding vinegar to the stew is a Pinoy preservation technique. For a distinct flavor profile, I actually use 2 kinds of vinegar for this adobong manok. I like the combination of sukang tuba -coconut sap vinegar, which has undertones of sweetness and sukang maasim -white cane vinegar, for that mouth-puckering sourness or asim-kilig, as they say.
This is a classic adobo recipe which is one of the first recipes I learned and cooked at home. Our classic chicken adobo, not to be confused with the Mexican Adobo, is a simple blend of tuba vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce simmered gently under medium heat. Anybody can cook it, even a kid!
How to Cook Adobong Manok
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp tuba vinegar (coconut sap vinegar)
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sukang maasim (white cane vinegar)
- whole peppercorn (black pepper)
- 3 pieces of dried bay leaves
- 1-kilo chicken
- 1 – 2 cup water (just enough to leave a small amount of sauce after simmering in medium fire for 30 minutes)
- ½ tsp white sugar
Instructions on How to Cook Adobong Manok
- Saute garlic and chicken in medium fire. Add tuba vinegar. Cover and cook until vinegar has evaporated and chicken is brown.
- Add soy sauce, peppercorns and bay leaves, and water. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add white vinegar and sugar. Let it simmer gently. Don’t touch or mix for about 3 minutes until the vinegar has cooked.
- Let the chicken cook for 10 minutes more until sauce is almost evaporated and chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- Remove the laurel (bay) leaf.
- Serve with white rice.
- To marinate or not to marinate. Some moms really do marinate first. I don’t because mostly, I cook adobo whenever I feel like it, or when there’s nothing else I can think of cooking and time is of the essence. (We really do cook adobo if we have no other option, lol!) If you want to marinate your chicken though, just use the first three ingredients then do as instructed but making sure to reserve the marinade and add it before the second step.
- To quickly peel fresh garlic, gently crush the clove with the flat side of a large knife blade to loosen the peel. If you don’t have a large knife, you can crush the garlic with a small can.
- Aside from the vinegar, I think what spells the difference in how to cook adobong manok is the peppercorn. Use the best and freshest peppercorn you can find and you will have a memorable Adobong Manok.
- I would also let the chicken cook on its own fat on step 1 to remove what some people call as “langsa” or fishiness. Though I’m not sure why a chicken would be fishy, I agree with this and love it to be “sangkutsado” or lightly browned.
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