In Spanish the word ‘adobo’ means ‘sauce’ or ‘marinade’ and in this version of a traditional Filipino dish the marinade becomes the sauce as the chicken stews in the vinegar and soy sauce mixture.
The Philippines were colonised by the Spanish in the late 1500s, so it is hardly surprising to find Spanish influence in their cuisine.
However, it would appear that the Spanish only give this name to a cooking process that was already being used by Filipinos, because of its vague similarity to their own ‘adobo’ where food is marinated in a mix of spices and vinegar.
It should be noted that the ‘adobo’ dishes of the Philippines are quite different to those of Latin American and Spain.
This cooking method was originally used as a way to preserve meat before refrigeration. Harmful bacteria cannot grow in the acid
environment created by the vinegar.
Don’t be afraid of the whole peppercorns in this dish, during cooking they soften and when encountered while eating give a pleasant spicy kick to the dish. Before the introduction of chillies by the Spanish, black pepper was used and can still be found in many dishes through the region, to add spiciness.
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 large or 8 small chicken drumsticks
3 bay leaves
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp honey
1 Place vinegar, soy sauce and garlic in a non-reactive dish. Add chicken and turn to coat. Set aside to marinate at room
temperature, turning several times, for at least 30 minutes or if
marinating longer, cover and refrigerate.
2 Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Add a little oil and swirl to coat base of pan. Drain chicken, reserving marinade. Add chicken to pan and cook for 3-4 minutes each side to brown.
3 Pour reserved marinade over chicken, add bay leaves,
peppercorns and honey and enough water to make a good cooking broth – the liquid doesn’t need to cover the chicken, but should come at least halfway up it. Bring to simmering, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Serving suggestion: Serve over steamed brown or white rice with a steamed green vegetable of your choice. I served it with boy choy which carried through the Asian flavour, but cabbage, spinach or broccoli would also be good choices.
Happy cooking and eating.
Recipe by Rachel Blackmore
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