11.143 Chicken Adobo [with recipe]


27 (Wed) May 2020

Chicken Adobo


by me

at home

-Dasmariñas Village, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines-

with the Family

Enhanced Community Quarantine, Day 71 / Repax Day -4.

After many many attempts to develop a recipe for chicken adobo, which has since become a family staple – my kids can recognize the aroma as it’s cooking – I am now ready to share, even if only 80% satisfied with the result.  The recipe is adapted from the one as taught to me by the head chef of the cafeteria at WHO WPRO, as previously noted (see 11.112 Chicken Adobo) – my eternal thanks go to him and his staff for keeping me well fed for the past 6.5 years, especially with chicken adobo, pork adobo, chicken pork adobo, chicken pork adobo hot dry.

I am very proud that chicken adobo, my favorite Filipino dish of all time, was the final dish that I cooked before packing up the kitchen ahead of the ship out in 2 days.


  • 4 large cloves of garlic (2 TB minced)
  • 2 TB of canola oil (or any neutral vegetable oil)
  • 1 kg of chicken (including bones) (preferably thighs)
  • 1 tsp of fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup of light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of vinegar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 tsp of ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp of chicken powder (i.e., bouillon powder)
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 4 dried bay leaves


1.  Mince the garlic.

2.  Cut the chicken into small pieces.

3.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large deep skillet or wok.

4.  Sauté the garlic for about 10 seconds, just before browning.


4.  Add the chicken and black pepper and sauté for about 3 minutes until the meat begins to brown.


5.  Add the soy sauce and sauté for about 3 minutes until the meat is fully coated in the soy sauce.

I prefer (skinless) thighs because they’re easy to work with and easy to eat – no complicated bones to get around – and remain juicy to the end.

6.  Add the vinegar and sauté for about 3 minutes until the tang has evaporated.


7.  Add the water, white pepper, chicken powder, sugar, and bay leaves, and stir, then bring to the boil.

I used to think that bay leaves were useless, but their woodsy fragrance does come through in this dish.

8.  Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water has reduced by about half to a thick saucy consistency (optionally, add a tablespoon of corn starch for a thicker sauce).


9.  Meanwhile, fry eggs (1 per serving) to over-easy, sprinkled with a bit of salt.


10.  Pour the chicken adobo over steamed rice, top with a fried egg, mix together, and enjoy (hopefully).


This is as far as I could get it, the culmination of my culinary experiences in the Philippines.  Our helper and driver have assured me over several iterations that my rendition is legit, though I can’t imagine that they would say anything but.  Unfortunately, I don’t anticipate any improvements upon the dish in the foreseeable future, without further opportunities to taste different versions of adobo at the source, without local palates to give me guidance – I would be very very keen to have readers try the recipe and provide comments, especially if you’re Filipino/Filipina.


One thought on “11.143 Chicken Adobo [with recipe]

  1. There’s a practice where you shouldn’t mix the adobo once you put in the vinegar for a few minutes, to let the vinegar cook. I don’t know why too.

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