There seem to be as many variations of Filipino Adobo as there are recipes. Everyone seems to have their own take on it. First some basics on which everyone can agree. Adobo can be used with pork, beef or poultry (typically, chicken or duck). The key ingredients in the sauce are vinegar, soy sauce and garlic. There the agreement stops.
Some recipes call for onion. Some call for brown sugar. Some call for a bay leaf; other 4-6 bay leaves. Most call for peppercorns, but the amounts vary. Some recipes call for white vinegar; some for cider vinegar; others for cane vinegar which would be very Filipino. Purists call for Filipino soy sauce instead of the typical Japanese variety. Good luck finding those last two ingredients. I’ve seen recipes that call for coconut milk, ginger or green pepper. Recipes are all over the board as to the amount and proportions of vinegar and soy sauce.
As with most cultural classics, every family seems to have their own recipe. I guess the good news is, you cannot make it wrong. Oh, and one more thing on which everyone can agree; no matter how you make it, it’s going to be delicious! So, here is my take.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 chicken thighs
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 head of garlic, minced
4 dried bay leaves
1 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce (Filipino if you can find it)
Salt and Ground Pepper
1. Generously salt and pepper your chicken.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil and chicken. Brown on all sides.
3. Remove the chicken from the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the other tbsp of the vegetable oil and the onions. Cook the onion until just translucent and beginning to caramelize.
4. Add the next five ingredients, the chicken and just enough chicken stock to cover the chicken.
5. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover the skillet. Cook the chicken until it is fork tender, about 45-60 minutes.
6. Remove the chicken from the skillet, return the sauce to a boil and reduce to a thin syrup consistency.
7. Add the chicken back to the skillet and toss the chicken in the sauce to cover.
Purists would serve this over rice with some more sauce. I prefer it with some nice garlic mash potatoes and maybe a side of some sautéed Kale. But no matter how you make it or how you serve it, you will enjoy it. It’s even better the second night for leftovers.