Filipino Chicken adobo is one of those dishes that I make for my family frequently. It’s a salty and tangy dish that everyone enjoys. Chicken adobo is delicious and flavorful. You will be proud to take to any potluck.
What is chicken adobo?
Chicken adobo is a popular Filipino dish that traditionally consists of chicken pieces slowly cooked in garlic, vinegar, bay leaf, black peppercorns and soy sauce. I like to serve the chicken pieces on top of rice with some of the reduced sauce poured on top. Every Filipino has his or her own way of cooking this dish and it depends on the region or on one’s personal preference. Some may use onions, brown sugar, pineapple or coconut milk.
Each of the ingredients in this savory dish has its purpose. The following is a list of all the ingredients
- Chicken pieces – My favorite to use is a mixture of bone-in, skin-on drumsticks and chicken thighs.
- Garlic – I use 6 cloves of garlic in this dish, so you will definitely taste the garlic!
- Vinegar – Usually found in Filipino adobos. The vinegar gives the adobo its tangy taste.
- Soy Sauce – Another ingredient common in most Filipino adobos. The soy sauce is the ingredient that adds saltiness.
- Bay leaf – I add the bay leaf when simmering the chicken in the sauce and remove it just before serving.
- Chicken Stock – I use chicken stock to simmer the chicken. By using chicken stock instead of water, it adds extra flavor to the dish.
- Black Peppercorns – Most Filipino chicken adobos will have black peppercorns which adds a nice peppery heat.
- Annatto Seeds and Coriander Seeds – The addition of coriander and annatto seeds give this adobo dish its warm, spicy-sweet scent, distinct yellow color and its slightly lemony flavor. Annatto seeds may be purchased at any local Filipino store. If it is not available, substitute ¼ teaspoon paprika combined with a generous pinch of turmeric.
How to make Filipino Chicken Adobo?
This recipe is a bit different than the traditional chicken adobo. First, marinade the chicken pieces in the vinegar and spices for 2 hours. This step is important so that the chicken will be super flavorful. After, place the marinade and the chicken in a large pan and bring to a boil. Then, slowly cook the chicken in the marinade for about 30 minutes. After that, take the chicken out of the marinade and set the marinade aside. The next step is to brown the chicken in a separate pan. Make sure to dab the chicken pieces with paper towels to remove any moisture to prevent the oil from reacting when you brown the chicken.
- 6 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon annatto seeds
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 kg chicken pieces
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Combine the garlic, vinegar, chicken stock, bay leaf, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, annatto seeds and soy sauce in a large bowl. Add the chicken, cover and leave to marinade in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Transfer the chicken mixture to a large heavy-based pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Gently turn chicken occasionally during course of cooking.
- Remove the chicken from the pan. Set aside the sauce. Dab the chicken pieces with paper towels to remove moisture.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the chicken in batches and cook over medium heat until chicken are crisp and brown.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces and serve with rice.
1. Do you use the annatto seeds and coriander seeds whole or as ground/powder?
2. Will this recipe work also with using pork butt?
This chicken adobo recipe calls for whole annatto and coriander seeds. Yes, you can use pork butt for this recipe but you need to adjust the cooking time. In step 3, simmer the pork for 45 minutes or until tender, adding more water if running out. Hope these help!
Awesome recipe! For anyone who comes across this version of Chicken Adobo and doesn’t feel like they have time to marinate…I skipped that part and the dish still tasted great, and had loads of flavor! Love this recipe!
Thanks Tabitha! Glad you love it 🙂
Hi – FYI – I also used this as a base for a great soup. Cooked the chicken as instructed (without skin) then instead of browning them, took the chicken pieces out and let them cool enough to pull/shred all the chicken off of the bones. I strained the sauce and added 4 cups of water to it, chopped carrots, celery, roasted tomatoes, s&p, and simmered until tender. Added the chicken back, and a bunch of chopped kale, then used a stick blender to emulsify it a bit, leaving chunks. It was great – thanks!!
Very clever Christine! Now you have chicken soup that has full of flavor and you even added kale…yummy!! I will definitely try it, thanks for writing 🙂
My aunt is from Philippines but she doesn’t eat any spice. so should i avoid the annatto seeds? and will the coriander seed also make it spicy. My aunt can’t even handle raw onions. so trying to make it for her. Pls let me know/.
Thanks for stopping by. It is nice of you to cook something for your aunt and adobo is a good choice. It is a dish most Filipinos love. To answer your question,as far as I know, annatto seeds are not spicy. It is used mainly for color. Coriander seeds,on the other hand,adds a certain taste to the adobo. When crushed, it is spicy but if you leave it whole, it’s okay. What I would suggest is for you to cook and try it first. This recipe is one of my fave..so flavorful and delicious. I am not fond of spicy food and don’t like eating raw onions either. And lastly, strain the sauce first to get rid of the seeds before pouring it over the chicken. This way your aunt won’t bite any seeds as she eats. Give it a try and let me know!
Whoops! Just saw you added it to the recipe! Thanks!
My pleasure Christine 🙂 A big THANK YOU to you for spotting what I have missed! Enjoy your chicken adobo. If you prefer, sift the sauce before you pour it over the chicken to remove the seeds. Let me know how it goes.
Looks great! How much chicken? Do you leave the skin on?
Oops! Thanks for letting me know Christine 🙂 As for the skin, you can remove or leave it on. What I did was to leave it on and it was sooo delicious.
Hi – thanks! How much chicken did you start with for this recipe – I see it serves 6 and we’re only 2 – it would help me in my shopping if you included the weight or parts of chicken you used. Can’t wait to try it