Filipino Chicken Adobo

Adobo is considered by many to be the national dish of the Philippines. Generally there’s chicken or chunks of pork. When I lived in Stockton I would go to Gil’s Cafe, a one-man shop on East Washington Street bordering the Crosstown Freeway in the then-deserted downtown Stockton. He served a lot of the old timers of the area. Many customers were from the Franco Center low-income housing building the cafe was in. He also got business from the gambling cardrooms next door. Like many downtown businesses, he was only open during the day. I always got the chicken and pork combo, which was way more than one person could eat. Sometimes he would even have a special pig’s feet version. Even though I was with a girl who made adobo at home, I would still go there, and she understood. The only other thing I would get there was the oxtails, which he often ran out of, and complained were expensive.

Gil closed somewhere in the mid-2000s. His daughter had a kid and he was always saying business was slow. So I guess I’m not spoiling anything when I learned one of the key ingredients was Chinese fermented bean sauce, which is made of soybeans. It adds that edge of concentrated saltiness. Everyone has their own adobo recipe, some even using Coca-Cola. But when I make mine I usually try and make it like Gil’s.


*Five pounds of chicken (about one whole one or pieces)

* Two bulbs of garlic

* Handful of bay leaves

* Splash of peppercorns

* Tablespoon of fermented (soy)bean sauce

*Rice for five


Chop your garlic, turn on the pot and put it in. Add the chicken, bay leaves and peppercorn. Add the soy sauce and bean sauce. Cook at least 45 minutes. Turn on your rice. Rice will take about 20 minutes, and another 10 to sit. Spoon chicken over rice and serve.

This video was also an audition for the ABC reality TV show “Taste.” To skip all the boring stuff about me, go to 1:09 to start the recipe.


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