Friday, March 8, 2013

Post 139: Filipino Chicken Adobo (from America's Test Kitchen)

Tomorrow morning, America's Test Kitchen (one of my favorite shows) will finally address Filipino food, namely the ubiquitous chicken adobo. Adobo, the dish, should not be confused with adobo sauce, a common condiment made of chipotle peppers and tomato sauce. Adobo, as the Filipinos see it, is a dish of braised chicken or pork. Since ATK's recipes are only available to subscribed members (free and premium),  as a public service, I have taken the liberty of sharing said recipe with you.

If you haven't seen ATK, you should. It's the TV component of Cook's Illustrated magazine, and the chefs pride themselves on tweaking a recipe X number of times until they get the perfect balance of flavors and textures. It airs on PBS stations across the country.

So, here's their recipe for chicken adobo:


  • 8 (5 to 7 ounces) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 (13 1/2 ounce) can coconut milk (light or regular)
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 scallion, sliced thin
  1. Toss chicken with soy sauce in large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Remove chicken from soy sauce, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Transfer chicken, skin side down, to 12-inch nonstick skillet; set aside soy sauce.
  3. Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook until chicken skin is browned, 7 to 10 minutes. While chicken is browning, whisk coconut milk, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and pepper into soy sauce.
  4. Transfer chicken to plate and discard fat in skillet. Return chicken to skillet skin side down, add coconut milk mixture, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Flip chicken skin side up and continue to cook, uncovered, until chicken registers 175 degrees, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
  5. Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off surface of sauce. Return skillet to medium-high heat and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with scallion, and serve.
This recipe serves four and is served over white rice. And here is their explanation on why this recipe works:

"Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines, and chicken adobo is among the most popular. The dish consists of chicken simmered in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper. The problem with most recipes we found was that they were aggressively tart and salty. Our secret to taming both of these elements was coconut milk. The coconut milk's richness tempered the bracing acidity of the vinegar and masked the briny soy sauce, bringing the sauce into balance."

Here's the link to the recipe on the ATK website:


  1. Alex, thank you so much for taking the time and caring.

  2. i just saw the last part of the atk show on adobe chicken and really wanted to try this recipe. thanks for making it available to all.

  3. okay... always run the first the ATKs exactly as they suggest... and this gets a "4 bowls" rating... (and they are right, you can give the chicken to the cat and just eat the gravy on the rice...) but I've tried... and kept... a half... to a cup of slivered almonds, a cup of kalamata olives... a couple jalapeno peppers (slived very thin)...

  4. Thanks for posting. I just made it. The coconut milk really makes a difference.