Filipino cuisine is underappreciated. So when the blogger, Filipino food truck founder, and cookbook author Marvin Gapultos promises that the dishes in his The Adobo Road Cookbook are going to be “easy to follow,” I was excited to page through his “tried and true recipes that can serve as a basic guide to the pleasures of Filipino cuisine.”
I’ve never cooked Filipino food before (though a Filipino friend did make me some excellent spring rolls and a delicious noodle soup once) and the idea of making something from a cuisine completely foreign to me was intriguine. I choose Gapultos’ “Classic Chicken Adobo,” the version he says he ate growing up. Adobo refers to the Filipino method of braising meat, seafood, fruit, or vegetables in a mixture of vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, black pepper and salt. All of these ingredients, along with soy sauce, are combined in a pan with six chicken thighs, skin on, which makes the recipe extremely easy to shop for, prepare and cook. Approximately 35 minutes later I had beautifully browned chicken that looked exactly like the photograph featured in Adobo Road. The chicken not only looked tempting, it tasted delicious. The sauce was surprisingly complex considering the simplicity of the ingredients, a nice mixture of tangy and sweet. Gapulto delivers on his promise with this recipe: very little effort needed to produce a simple, tasty chicken dish with a delightful new flavor.
Classic Chicken Adobo
Serves 4-6 as part of a multi-course meal
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
¼ cup (65 ml) soy sauce
½ cup (125 ml) white Filipino can vinegar, or distilled white vinegar
6-8 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
Place the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves in a large, nonreactive sauté pan, and then nestle the chicken thighs, skin side down, into the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, and then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over, and then cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Uncover the pan, and then increase the heat to high and return the sauce to a boil. While occasionally turning and basting the chicken, continue boiling the sauce, uncovered, until it is reduced by half and thickens slightly, 5-7 minutes. Serve with steamed white rice.