The Philippine Cookbook: Chicken Adobo.


The cold weather and long work days have made me hungry for some piping hot Filipino comfort food in the evenings. The other night I tried out the chicken adobo recipe from The Philippine Cookbook. I changed up the recipe a bit by adding some sugar to my adobo sauce, which turned out pretty well. Check out the recipe after the jump.

Chicken Adobo Recipe


  • 1 3-lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces (for my version, I used 3 lb.s of chicken thigh)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar (I used Ilocano sugarcane vinegar for my dish, available at Asian specialty markets)
  • 1 or 2 heads of garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
  • salt to taste
  • my (optional) addition: 2 tablespoons brown sugar



Bring to a boil the chicken together with the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns and simmer for half an hour.


Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and broil them in a pan for 10 minutes.


Let the sauce in the pot boil until it is reduced by half. NOTE: In my version of this recipe, I added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the reduction for a sweet and savory flavor.


Add salt to taste. Cover the broiled chicken pieces with the sauce. Serve hot.


The Verdict:

This dinner really hit the spot. I actually didn’t end up adding any additional salt as a final step because soy sauce tends to taste pretty salty to me (even though the soy sauce I used was reduced sodium!). I don’t usually broil the meat in my adobo, but I think this additional step added a nice crispy texture to the chicken skin. The brown sugar also gives the meat a subtly sweet and savory glaze. Most of my Filipino friends and family have their own versions of adobo, with varied proportions of soy sauce, vinegar, and other special ingredients (e.g., honey, balsamic vinegar, lemon), so I suggest experimenting with this recipe to figure out how you personally like it.

Happy eating!

– j.

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