My first experience with chicken adobo was on a flight back to Sydney from the Philippines. It wasn’t great.
But after visiting the Philippines in January 2013, I’ve been intrigued to track down more recipes to broaden my tastebud horizons. When we were there it seemed like every meal was fried chicken, rice, rice, noodles, and more rice. And fried chicken. That’s because most of the places we were visiting were in rural areas with no restaurants to speak of — that didn’t serve only fried chicken and rice or noodles, anyway!
Chicken adobo caught my attention “for real” when I was perusing Appetite for China and came across this excellent adobo recipe. I’ve been hooked since. So hooked that I haven’t even made the coconut version, and I love coconut.
This is my own adaptation of chicken adobo, using the basic sauce from Appetite for China and adding in a good portion of vegetables. Eggplant seems to be a go-to in Filipino cooking, but I know they would also use any good veggies that were fresh and at hand, so do get creative if you desire.
The best part about this dish is its amazing sweet and sour fragrance as it cooks — but do keep the lid on to keep those juices from evaporating!
Chicken & Vegetable Adobo
Makes: 4-6 servings
Cooking time: 45 min
- 4-6 chicken thighs, recommended with bone in (but I keep using boneless and it’s been delicious)
- 2 medium yellow onions, sliced into rounds
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar (or a blend)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tbsp honey or brown sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- lots of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium eggplant or 2 small eggplants, sliced
- 2 carrots sliced into coins
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper) cut into thin strips
- broccolini and sesame seeds for garnish
Pre-heat a heavy pot to medium-high with a few glugs of olive oil (I use my dutch oven and it’s perfect for this). Pat chicken dry on both sides. Place into heated pot and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper; cook on each side for about 4 minutes or until just going golden. It’s OK if there’s still some pink.
While chicken is searing, chop onions and garlic. Mix together vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and water. When chicken has finished searing, cover with onions and garlic, and pour in sauce and add paprika, more black pepper, and bay leaves. Give it a good swirl with tongs to mix ingredients, keeping onions on top of chicken. Keep covered. (I’d recommend starting some rice cooking at this point.)
Slice up your other veggies and add these on top of the chicken and onions. Once onions have softened, mix veggies together so they each have a bit of sauce on them and are cooking evenly. Keep covered, checking occasionally, and cook for about 20 minutes — until flavours have combined, chicken is very tender, and veggies are cooked through.
Serve on warm rice with a generous spoonful of extra sauce. Enjoy!