Chicken Adobo: A Filipino Classic

Growing up Filipino-American, you learn what kind of foods are considered part of your background based on how often they are served to you. Somewhere along the line, you sort of assume that this is a staple dish and then that assumption is further validated when you meet other Filipino-Americans that tell you they’ve been served the same thing. It’s no doubt, food is one of the biggest gateways to learning about ones own culture.

Filipino food is generally broken down into four traditional cooking methods: Paksiw – Meat broth with vinegar and spices, Kinilaw – Seafood with vinegar and spices, Sangkutsa – Pre-cooked meat then braised in vinegar and spices, and finally, Adobo – Marinated meat with vinegar, soy sauce, and spices.

Chicken Adobo – or Adobong Manok in Tagalog – is a classic dish that is about as Filipino as Hamburgers are American. Although Filipino food tends to be so diverse to where it’s difficult to popularize it the way the Chinese did with their food, I can’t think of any better dish that can represent Filipino food better than this beloved comfort food of my youth.

The recipe is quite simple:


Yield: 2-3 people

  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Cane Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 6 Chicken Drumsticks
  • 1 Whole Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of Water
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 Stem of Green Onions, chopped


  1. Place chicken drumsticks in a large bowl (Make sure they are patted dry with a towel to reduce excess water)
  2. Pour in Soy Sauce, Vinegar, and Black Pepper. Mix well and let marinate for 30 min.
  3. In a large pot, add Canola oil and place on medium high heat.
  4. Add Onions and Garlic. Sautée until they are golden brown.
  5. Add 1 Tbsp of Water
  6. 1 By 1, remove the drumsticks from the marinade and add them to the pot with the skin down.
  7. When the skin has browned, add the marinade, reduce heat to medium low
  8. Add Bay Leaves
  9. Let simmer for 25-30 min.
  10. The marinade should reduce into a thick, gravy-like consistency
  11. Add Green Onions for garnish, serve hot with white rice.

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