Filipino Chicken Adobo


Funky chicken adobo, a falling-apart stew made with fermented fish sauce and vinegar, is found everywhere in the Philippines, but no two households make this hallmark dish in quite the same way. This isn’t surprising when you consider that the Philippines is a large archipelago made up of more than 7,000 islands, each with its own regional flavors. On top of that, Filipino culture truly represents a cultural crossroads, with a blended population of Malays, Hindus, Arabs, Chinese, Spaniards, and Americans. In the United States, Filipinos are the second-largest Asian American demographic (after the Chinese), yet their cuisine has until recently been relatively under-the-radar outside of their own community. Happily, that is changing, thanks to a new generation of young, proud Filipino Americans who are spreading their cuisine from Manhattan’s Lower East Side to the San Gabriel Valley.


3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup distilled white vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

10 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, sliced

2 scallions (green and white parts), sliced

Perfect Steamed Rice, for serving

In a large bowl, add the chicken, tomatoes, vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, black pepper, and bay leaves. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Place the chicken and its marinade in a large, heavy pot and set it over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Set aside. Skim off any fat from the surface of the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, and cook until it has reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and sear until the skin browns, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken, and add the onions to the pan. Cook until the chicken is browned and the onions are lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss sauce with the chicken and onions. Serve over rice with scallions.

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