Chicken Adobo


There are very few meals that I can remember so vividly from my childhood, but this is the most memorable…. it’s a delicate balance of salty, sour and sweet flavours. This dish is the pride of the Philippines and primarily uses soy sauce and vinegar as a marinade. It is one of the easier dishes to prepare and once you get the ratios right, it is very delicious. And don’t feel that you are limited to just chicken, you can safely use any meat with this recipe… I’ve tried an assortment of “red meats” at this point.

My first attempt at this turned out far more “tart” than expected, and it was due to my mother’s failing memory. The next attempt came from a random site on the internet and, since it was now close to that taste I was familiar with, it became my “set in stone” ratio… for 500g of meat – ½ cup soy sauce, ¾ cup vinegar, 2 cups water.

In recent times, I have played around with this dish and tried a few new things out. Since Adobo is known as a “marinade”, I’m now allowing the meat to sit in the sauce for a few hours before cooking (although I honestly haven’t noticed much difference as far as flavour goes”. Usually, I would just use white vinegar but on this occasion, I decided to give apple cider vinegar a try.

In the photo above, I placed 2kgs of mixed chicken pieces into the marinade and allowed that to sit in the fridge overnight.  The marinade used is as follows…


  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed with the blade of a knife
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups water

When preparing to cook the next day, everything was transferred to a large heavy bottomed pot and was brought to the boil… then the heat was reduced to medium and allowed to simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. With chicken, you can tell it’s ready when you see the skin coming away from the meat. I like to have it sit on the stove top a little extra to allow the mix to reduce further and really thicken up the sauce. Serve with steamed white rice.


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