Isn’t chicken adobo the best? Without a doubt, chicken adobo is one of the top tier Filipino dishes out there. You can’t go wrong with the fragrant smell of the garlicky, umami adobo sauce, as well as the tender meat or vegetables you cook it in. Unlike other classic Filipino dishes like tinola, whose flavor is subtler, or sinigang, who leans towards a more sour palate, adobo is salty, savory, and delicious in its own unique way.
Adobo doesn’t actually refer to any specific protein or veggie that you find in the dish. Instead, adobo is what you call the cooking process of marinating any ingredient of your choice in a combination of garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce. For this recipe, I use 6 tablespoons of white vinegar and half a cup of soy sauce. This is to strike a good balance of flavors; you don’t want your adobo turning out too salty or too sour. Of course, if you prefer one flavor over the other, you can adjust this ingredient accordingly.
Chicken adobo is such a great comfort food. Warm and delicious, it never disappoints, and is often the go-to in many Filipino kitchens. It’s great for any time of day, be it morning, noon, or night. I like to have mine during breakfast especially, with a yummy fried egg and some garlic rice –– it’s the perfect way to start the day.
The ingredients in adobo can also be adaptable. Are you the type to enjoy potatoes in your adobo? How about pineapples? Depending on what region you’re in, chicken adobo can be enjoyed in a myriad of forms. What type of meat and veggies do you like in your adobo? Let us know!
Today we’re taking the classic chicken adobo and adding a special –– or should I say, spicy twist! Our chicken adobo today will be a spicy chicken adobo! With the addition of Thai chili peppers, our Filipino favorite will be given an extra kick!
How to Cook Spicy Chicken Adobo
An important part of cooking is always preparing your ingredients beforehand. Slice up your 1 ½ pounds of chicken into serving pieces, if you haven’t already bought them cut up. Your bay leaves (we’ll be using around 3 for this recipe) should also be dried. Crush your 6 cloves of garlic, and chop the Thail chili peppers we’ll be using for spice.
To begin cooking, combine your chicken, soy sauce, and vinegar in a bowl. Make sure to let your chicken marinate well. This is another important step in making your chicken adobo: ensuring that your chicken is able to soak up all the flavors you are letting it steep in. The marinating process should take about 30 minutes.
Once your thirty minutes are up, it’s now time to heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Take your marinated chicken from the bowl and fry it. However, it’s important that you don’t throw away the rest of your marinade; you’ll be needing it later. Frying your chicken should take about 4 minutes per piece, with each piece frying at 2 minutes per side. Remove your chicken from the pan afterwards and set it aside.
With the remaining oil, toss in the cloves of garlic you’d crushed beforehand. Sauté your garlic pieces until they become a beautiful golden brown. Add your chicken back into the pan, alongside the remaining marinade. After adding a cup of water, wait until you’ve brought your adobo to a boil.
Add the remainder of ingredients back into your pan. These include your peppercorn, sugar, chopped chili peppers, and dried bay leaves. Lower the heat on your pan and cover it. Let your chicken adobo stew on its own for 35 minutes. It’s important to lower the heat, so as not to make your meat too tough.
(Around this time, you can probably start cooking your rice, too. Another option you have is taking leftover rice and making a nice garlic rice to go alongside your chicken adobo. This makes for a great meal, especially for breakfast in the mornings!)
Check on your chicken adobo every once in a while, tasting it with a teaspoon. If you need to add more salt, do so! Your remaining liquid in the pan should start or be in the process of evaporating by now.
Once you’ve seen that all the liquid has evaporated, your spicy chicken adobo is ready! Transfer your dish to a serving bowl alongside your heaping bowl of white rice. Share and enjoy it with your family!
Let us know what you think of this Spicy Chicken Adobo!
Spicy Chicken Adobo
- 1 ½ lbs. chicken sliced into serving pieces
- 6 cloves garlic crushed
- 6 tablespoons white vinegar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorn
- 3 bay leaves dried
- 1 cup water
- 5 Thai chili pepper chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar optional
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- Combine chicken, soy sauce and vinegar. Marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan. Fry the marinated chicken for 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan. Set aside.
- Using remaining oil, saute the garlic until golden brown. Add the chicken back into the pan and then pour remaining marinade. Add water and let boil.
- Put whole peppercorn, sugar, chili pepper, and bay leaves into the pan. Adjust heat to the lowest setting. Cover and continue cooking for 35 minutes.
- Season with salt if needed. Let remaining liquid evaporate.
- Transfer to a serving plate. Serve with warm rice.