Wednesday 19 August 2009

Adobong Manok/ Chicken Adobo (Filipino Vinegar & Garlic Stew)

I first tried this utterly delectable dish when it was home-cooked by my beautiful Filipino friends in the King & I cast, and since then I have been addicted. Vinegar. Sour punchy flavourful vinegar. Who knew it was so lip-smackingly life-changing?

Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines and rightly so- salty, tangy, garlicky and succulent, it is testament to the fact that if there's one thing Asians know how to do right, it's food.

Typically it is made with pork, chicken or a combination of both, and the process could not be easier- throw everything into a pot and stew. The recipe below is a pretty basic traditional version, although I've been told there are all sorts of variations including adding coconut milk, hard boiled eggs, vegetables or even pineapple and liver pate!

Adobong Manok/ Chicken Adobo *Serves 3-4*
(If desired, combine all ingredients and marinate overnight before cooking to improve flavour. The dish also keeps well and can be made a few days in advance)

Saute lightly until fragrant:5 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or more, up to a whole head if desired)1 onion, sliced into strips

Add and fry briefly until browned:
8 large chicken thighs/drumsticks, or 1 kg chicken cut into pieces
(for a different variation use half chicken half pork, cut into cubes)

Add, cover and simmer 30 minutes (longer for pork) until sauce is thickened:
1/2 to 1 cup vinegar of choice (put more or less depending on how tart you want it. I've tried white, malt, cider and rice vinegar, all other kinds should work too).
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
*Some insist it is important not to stir at ALL whilst it simmers- I haven't been able to resist but if you can, try it and let me know if it makes a difference!*

I never bother with this, but if desired remove meat once cooked and fry briefly in a separate pan to crisp skins (but watch out for oil splatter).

Serve with hot rice and lots of gravy.


  1. I think I've been ignoring Josephine's in Fitzrovia for too long now. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. I really like a lot of garlic and onion with fried chicken!!! I'll definitely try this recipe very soon! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey Yuh Huey!
    Cooking this tonight! Let's see how it turns out :)
    Currently smells sourish tho.


  4. Hey Tricia! Um, yes it's a vinegar stew after all :) Hope it turned out! x

  5. Hi Hi..Turned out way too sour :(
    Hubby din eat it at all.

  6. Seems like there is a problem with the recipe regarding the amount of vinegar used? I've been researching other chicken adobo recipes online and they all say to use 1/4 Cup of vinegar per 1kg ( 2.2lbs) chicken (instead of 1C recommended by this recipe)
    Perhaps that will explain why Tricia's chicken turned out way too sour!

  7. Nope, I always use 1 cup as that's how my Filipino friends taught me. Guess it depends on the strength of the vinegar (I find malt milder) and personal taste preference?

  8. Tasty, quick, easy. I used 6 chicken thighs, halved, marinated 1/2 hr w/ little soy sauce & 4 chop garlic. In oil, sauteed 5 chop garlic then add 1 med onion, chunks..sauteed. Add marinated chicken, lil more 1/2 c spicy & reg. Filipino white vinegar, 1/4 c reg. & low sodium K soy sauce, 1/2 c water, sprinkle little pickling spices, 4 bay leaves & cracked course black pepper. Cook 20 min.
    and turn over, cook another 20 min. Taste if need a little low sodium soy, and check vinegar taste. Very taste and easy and not
    as salty. Thank you for sharing your recipe