Many of my friends ask me why I don’t make Filipino food that much, and my answer is usually, because it doesn’t ever taste like how my mom or grandmother made it. But over time, I realized that it’s okay to have our own version of the food that we grew up with, because when it comes down to it, no matter how hard we try sometimes, it will never be as good as what we remember, though we can come pretty close.
Chicken adobo is one of those staple dishes in a Filipino household. It is typically made with chicken, pork or a combination of both, and marinated in rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black pepper. The name adobo is taken from the Spanish word marinade, but this specific method of cooking is indigenous to Filipinos.
The typical way to make adobo is to marinate the meat for at least 2 hours, and then you simmer it in the marinade, which is one of the reasons why I used to avoid making it, unless it’s on a weekend, because let’s face it, the last thing we want to do after work is to wait another 2 hours to make dinner. Over time, I found a way to make a quicker version of this dish. Don’t be fooled though, just because it’s quick, it doesn’t mean it lacks flavor. Each time I have this dish, I am immediately brought back to my childhood after the first bite. The marriage between the saltiness of the soy sauce and the tartness of the vinegar wakes up certain senses in my mouth that leaves me wanting another. Be warned, because once you try this, you will get hooked!
There are many versions of adobo, much like there are many variations of spaghetti sauce. I use balsamic vinegar in my version, and I also use coconut milk for extra flavor, and to thicken the sauce. I hope this dish invites you to try more Filipino dishes in the future.
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2 tablespoons coconut oil
8 pieces chicken thighs or legs
6 large garlic cloves
3 baby bell peppers
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
½ cup chopped tomatoes
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
¾ cup coconut milk
4-6 fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides, then remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
2. In the same pot, add the garlic, bell peppers, and shiitake mushrooms until tender then add the tomatoes.
3. Add the vinegar and soy sauce and let it simmer.
4. Add the chicken, the coconut milk, the sage, and the black pepper. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
The typical way to serve this is over jasmine or brown rice and a side dish of fresh tomatoes. I hope you enjoy!