30 Dec Chicken Adobo
Well, how was your Christmas? I find it’s the couple of days after Christmas that tend to be the most relaxing, and a great time to test out some new recipes.
Once the crescendo of Christmas has reached its peak, somewhere between the turkey and ham being laid out on the table for Christmas dinner, we can start to properly wind down, loosen the belt buckles and chill out. After a few days of grazing and snacking, it’s time to cook again. Might I suggest this simple yet satisfying chicken adobo recipe?
Adobo is to Philippine cuisine what stew is to Irish food. Considered to be the national dish of the Philippines, adobo reflects the diverse influences of the country’s cuisine, which has been shaped by its history and influenced by its various settlers and trade partners such as the Malay, the Chinese, the Spanish and the Americans, before the Philippines gained independence in 1946.
This is one of my favourite recipes, adapted from my most used cookbook of 2016, ‘Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes’. This adobo is incredibly simple and the flavours are delicious.
Do take heed of the note about the soy sauce and get one that is low in sodium or the dish will be far too salty. You could even look into using a low-sodium tamari sauce, a Japanese soy sauce which has an even smoother flavour.
Adobo is best served with rice on the side. When it comes to cooking basmati, I always use a small coffee cup to measure my rice, and use the same one to measure the water I put into the pan. Rinsing the rice before helps remove the starch and most recipes suggest soaking the rice in cold water for 30 minutes before cooking. If you have the time, give it a go and see if it makes a difference to your meal.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
200ml coconut milk
200ml soy sauce (light and low sodium)
100ml distilled white vinegar or rice wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns
4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
6 free-range chicken thighs
1 small coffee cup of basmati rice, rinsed
1 fresh spring onion
1 extra red chilli
1. Pour the coconut milk, soy sauce and vinegar into a large, deep pot. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, diced garlic and red chilli to the pot. Bring the sauce to a simmer over a medium to high heat. Now add the chicken pieces in a single layer. The sauce should cover the chicken about three-quarters of the way up. If it doesn’t, add some water.
2. Cover the pan and gently simmer over a medium heat for 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender but cooked through.
3. Remove the chicken from the pot and simmer over a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce reduces, becomes a bit syrupy and coats a spoon. You don’t want to reduce it too much as it will become too salty.
4. Meanwhile, put a small cup of rice into a small saucepan and cover with two small cups of cold water, measured with the same cup. Bring the water to the boil and then cover the pan with a lid before reducing the heat. Gently simmer for about 8 minutes or until the water has evaporated. Fluff with a fork and set aside, uncovered, until ready to serve.
5. Transfer the rice into a bowl and top with two or three pieces of chicken thighs. Spoon over plenty of that delicious sauce and garnish with a few pieces of finely sliced spring onion and finely sliced red chilli.
This week’s storecupboard essential:
Good quality soy sauce: There are four main types of soy sauce; light, dark, low-sodium and tamari. Head to your local Asian specialist grocery store, such as Asia Market on Drury Street in Dublin, and look through the different types of soy sauce to find the best one for your adobo.