Adobo, the Spanish word for marinade/sauce/seasoning, is the immersion of raw food in a stock/sauce which may be composed variously of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar to preserve and enhance its flavor. The Portuguese variant is known as Carne de Vinha d’ Alhos.
This practice is native to Iberia, namely Spanish/Portuguese cuisines. It was created to preserve surplus meat in warmer months, facilitated through the use of adobos /marinades along with paprika, a substance with antibacterial properties. At the same time, the capsaicin in paprika permit fats to dissolve to the point of allowing tissue penetration, going deeper than the surface.
Adobo was widely adopted in Latin America and other Spanish/Portuguese colonies, including the Azores and Madeira. In the Philippines, the name adobo was given by the Spanish colonists to a superficially similar indigenous cooking method that also uses vinegar.
In Filipino cuisine, adobo refers to a common cooking process indigenous to the Philippines. When the Spanish first explored the Philippines in the late 16th century, they encountered a cooking process that involved stewing with vinegar. Spanish referred to this method as adobo, due to its superficial similarity to the Spanish adobo.
Filipino adobo is an entirely separate method of preparing food and is distinct from the Spanish marinade. The Filipino adobo has experienced many variations in terms of cooking style, stewing hours and deviation from meat (chicken, pork, fish or vegetables). However, three basic ingredients remain: garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. A common variation of this dish involves adding spices such as whole black peppers (peppercorn) and bay leaves, as well as vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, green peas, bell peppers, and button mushrooms. Chili peppers may be mixed in as well for a spicier flavor, and oyster sauce, along with soy sauce, for additional flavor.
Filipino Chicken Adobo / Adobong Manok
Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines, and chicken adobo is among the most popular, common menu items at Filipino restaurants. I have had original Filipino adobo, which the flavors were too intense for my palate. Watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen (TV program), I learnt to appreciate this tender and delicious dish, coconut milk’s richness tempers the powering acidity of the vinegar and salty soy sauce, bringing the sauce into balance for our general palate. Like me, if you enjoy tender chicken meat in a creamy, tangy, flavorful sauce, this is the dish!
3 lbs or 8 bone-in chicken thighs, fats and excess skin trimmed
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 (13.5 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk – light coconut milk may be substituted
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
8 garlic cloves (or more), peeled and kept whole
4~5 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground pepper (it will not make the sauce hot)
1 green onion, thinly sliced (optional for garnish)
- Marinate chicken with soy sauce, in a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30~60 minutes.
- Remove chicken from soy sauce and place skin-side down, in a medium-size, deep, non-stick fry-pan. Keep soy sauce in the bowl for next step.
- Place fry-pan over medium-high heat and sear chicken, only the skin side, until skin is fully browned, 8~10 minutes.
- While chicken is browning, in the bowl with the soy sauce, add coconut milk, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, pepper and stir.
- Transfer browned chicken to a dish and discard fat in the fry-pan. Return chicken to fry-pan, skin-side down, add coconut milk mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Flip chicken, skin side up, and continue to cook, uncovered, until chicken is done, at least for 20 minutes and until sauce has thickened.
- Option: Garnish with sliced green onion and serve over rice.
~ Please note a comment made by RenxKyoko in the message section below, for more on this dish/recipe!
Tayo’y magsikain (formal) Kainan na! (informal) / Let’s eat