Filipino Chicken Adobo – Adobong Manok Recipe

Chicken Adobo is probably the most popular Filipino dish out there. The simplicity of this dish makes it one of the most complex as well because of the many variations depending on the ingredients and the cook. In the basic recipe, we used a simple trio of water, soy sauce and vinegar, seasoning with some crushed peppercorns and bay leaf. In this updated version, we are substituting the water with coconut milk. This will make the sauce very rich and flavorful, resulting in a silky texture as well. The addition of a red chili pepper will add a little bite, but not be too spicy. Try it and see for yourself.

You will need:

  • 1 chicken, cut up and skinned
  • 1 C coconut milk
  • 1 red Thai chili
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 1/8 C cane vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 crushed peppercorns
  • S & P, to season

Start by heating a couple Tablespoons of oil in a large pot and brown the chicken pieces. Once the chicken has been lightly browned, add the coconut milk, cover and simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes is up, remove the cover and add the chili, soy sauce, vinegar, peppercorns and the bay leaf. Mix to combine, cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so ‘til the chicken is tender. 

When the chicken is done, take off the cover and let the sauce reduce to the consistency you like. Some like it thick, some like it thinner. It’s a matter of preference. Some people, like my mom, take the cooked chicken liver and mash it into the sauce, adding another dimension of flavor. It’s simple and brilliant. 

What I usually do next is take out the chicken pieces and set them aside in a serving dish. Then, I take some freshly steamed rice and put it into the pot of sauce, tossing to combine and flavor the rice. Serve and enjoy!

*variations on chicken adobo

Like I said before, there are many versions of this famous dish. The basic recipe uses water as the cooking liquid versus this coconut milk version. There is also an adobo puti (puti meaning white) that is made without soy sauce. You can also achieve different taste profiles using different vinegars. When I first learned to make adobo many years ago, I used the regular white vinegar. Years later, I met a woman that made it with red wine vinegar and the taste was delicious. 

The point is, play with the ingredients and see what you like and create your own ‘signature’ adobo.

In the coming months, I will write more about adobo and create some more great recipes. Have fun in the kitchen!

One Response to Filipino Chicken Adobo – Adobong Manok Recipe

  1. Ann says:

    It wasn’t till I was an adult that I found out coconut milk was the exception not the rule to chicken and pork adobo. My mom’s recipe was always the best and if I had adobo without the coconut milk it seemed like something was missing. My dad’s fave was chicken and pork adobo, and my sister says the bay leaf is a must.

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