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Classic Filipino Chicken Adobo !!

One of the most amazing Asian chicken thigh recipes I have ever come across. Intense in flavour, but so fast and easy to prepare! Chicken is so tender, it's like it's been slow cooked.


For martinade :

  • 750g / 1.5 lb chicken thigh fillets , boneless and skinless (5 - 6 pieces) cannot substitute with breast, need the fat to transform sauce into a glaze;
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/3 cup (85ml) soy sauce ordinary all purpose or light NOT dark soy sauce (bottle will be labelled as such if it’s dark soy sauce);
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp white vinegar plain white vinegar. Sub with any clear vinegar, including rice wine, apple cider, sherry vinegar;
  • 4 bay leaves (fresh) or 3 dried

For cooking :

  • 2 tbsp oil separated (vegetable, canola or peanut)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 small brown onion caramelized onion
  • 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppe
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Serving :

  • Steamed rice, for serving
  • 2 green onions/scallions , sliced (garnish)
  • some sesame


  • Combine Chicken and Marinade ingredients in a bowl. Marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to overnight.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over high heat. Remove chicken from marinade (reserve marinade) and place in the pan. Sear both sides until browned – about 1 minute on each side. Do not cook the chicken all the way through.
  • Remove chicken skillet and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in skillet. Add garlic and onion, cook 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Add the reserved marinade, water, sugar and black pepper. Bring it to a simmer then turn heat down to medium high. Simmer 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken smooth side down. Simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes (no need to stir), turning chicken at around 15 minutes, until the sauce reduces down to a thick jam-like syrup.
  • If the sauce isn't thick enough, remove chicken onto a plate and let the sauce simmer by itself - it will thicken much quicker - then return chicken to the skillet to coat in the glaze.
  • Coat chicken in glaze then serve over rice,sliced green onions and some grains of sesame


Recipe Notes:

1. Chicken thighs - do NOT substitute with breast. You need the fat in thighs in order for the sauce to reduce down to a glaze. Can also use bone in thighs, wings or drumsticks (add 3/4 cup water and simmer 30 minutes).
The best way to achieve the closest result with chicken breast is to add 2 tbsp of any oil to the sauce, take the chicken out once cooked and reduce the sauce right down to become jammy, then smear it on the breast.
2. Soy sauce - use all purpose or light soy sauce. Do not use dark soy sauce - bottle will be labelled as such if it is. Dark soy is too intense for this sauce once reduced.
You probably won't need all the sauce because it is very strong in flavour. Save the leftovers and use it to make fried rice! It is perfect because it is so strong in flavour so a little bit goes a long way. I used it to make a fried rice with leftover Filipino Chicken Adobo and chopped Asian greens. No other flavourings required!
3. Nutrition per serving, chicken only and assumes all sauce consumed which is unlikely as it's quite strong. Reduce sodium by using low sodium soy.
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