You probably cannot tell from my blog that I am Filipino, because I never make Filipino food. My excuse through the years has always been that Filipino food takes too long to cook - which is true. But then I realized, well, there are a lot of things that I make that take a long time to prepare, but I make them anyway - so that excuse doesn't really hold water anymore. I've also been inspired by Marvin at Burnt Lumpia to start reconnecting with my Filipino culinary roots. By the time I have children, I want them to appreciate at least some parts of our Filipino heritage. And what better dish to start with than chicken adobo?
Every Filipino family has their own recipe for adobo, depending on what part of the Philippines they are from. It's one of those Filipino dishes that you can count on being on the table at a Filipino party (along with pancit and lumpia). I copied down a recipe from my dad years ago for adobo (my dad is an awesome cook), but had never attempted to make it. It was kind of unnerving trying to learn how to make adobo from my dad, because he doesn't measure anything. Our conversation over a pot of pork adobo went something like this:
Dad: Ok, now you add some salt.
Me: Ok. How much salt?
Dad: (holds out his hand, cups his palm and pours some salt into it) This much.
Me: What is that, a teaspoon? Two teaspoons?
Dad: (incredulous) I don't know. (holds out his palm again) This much!
This week I finally pulled the recipe out of my recipe box and made it. In honor of my dad, I did not pull out the measuring spoons and just poured the salt into my palm. And oh, was it delicious. I felt like I was home. My house even smelled like my parents house for that hour or two (oh, the sweet smell of vinegar and garlic!).
Here is my dad's recipe for adobo. You can substitute 2 pounds of cubed pork (~1 inch cubes) for the chicken if you prefer.
Dad's Chicken Adobo
4 chicken thighs, skins removed
1 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 cup water
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
Add everything except the soy sauce into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes, covered. Lower the heat and simmer for an additional 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until desired doneness and the sauce is reduced to your liking. Add the soy sauce and stir until mixed in. Remove the bay leaves and serve over white rice.