4.276 Classic Chicken Adobo

Cycle 4 – Item 276

8 (Tue) October 2013

Classic Chicken Adobo


by me

at home

-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-


The Adobo Road Cookbook is a Filipino cookbook.  Published 2013.  Written by Marvin Gapultos, Filipino-American, blogger at Burnt Lumpia, and former owner/chef of food truck The Manila Machine.

I got the book on my recent trip to Manila.  The selection of dishes seems to represent a good range of the most popular/mainstream items (e.g., chicken adobo), along with modernized variations (e.g., pork & pineapple adobo).  All casual (think: food truck), ideal for a weekend backyard party with friends (perhaps reflecting the author’s tastes as a (relatively) young man), pairs well with beer (a point that the he emphasizes throughout), nothing too weird or hardcore (except maybe the chicken feet).  Short intro blurbs explain the background of each, sometimes personal stories.  And the recipes/techniques are simplified/adapted so that they can be made with readily available ingredients and minimal fuss.  I realize that Mr. Gapultos is not the definitive authority on the subject – neither an old grandmother nor formally trained, grew up in the United States, learning to appreciate his ancestral cuisine late in life, just someone who loves food (kinda like me) – but the book seemed a good starting point.

With adobo in mind, I bought this cane vinegar in Manila, by far the most common type on local supermarket shelves; slightly richer in flavor than the standard distilled stuff, a bit sweetish like rice wine vinegar.

I started with Classic Chicken Adobo.  Way way better than my prior attempt at the dish (see 4.111 Chicken Pork Cauliflower Adobo), a more reasonable balance of vinegar (1/2 cup) to soy sauce (1/4 cup), for starters.  However, it didn’t have the same sense of sour/savory balance in taste or the thicker sauciness in texture that I’ve experienced in the Philippines.  ARC does suggest that cooking an adobo the night before will allow for it to maturate and mellow out, and a dash of sugar may be added to cut the acidity if necessary, so I’ll try that next time.  And fresher/stronger bay leaves.  And cracked black pepper, not whole corns.  And minced garlic, not whole cloves.


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