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Sharing Food: Chicken adobo

For Filipino American History Month, savor a taste of the Philippines with chicken adobo, a widely considered national dish of the country.
Image by Emily Urfer
A plate of chicken adobo, a Filipino dish, cooked for the Sharing Food series on Saturday, Oct. 10. Chicken adobo is prepared with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and black pepper and is typically served with rice.

The Philippine Student Association (PSA) knows a thing or two about sharing food.

PSA member Kristina Paraíso said that in Filipino culture, every plate of food is meant to be shared, especially chicken adobo, this week’s featured recipe.

Chicken adobo, a dish that incorporates sweet, salty and sour elements in the marinating and cooking process, is considered a national dish of the Philippines. A fairly simple dish to cook, this meal includes kitchen staples, like garlic, vinegar and soy sauce, to create a dish that hits all the flavors your heart and tongue desire.

One thing that PSA members want readers to know is that no adobo is created equally. In every household, Filipino families customize the dish to their liking. Some add in coconut cream for a more decadent dish, and others simmer down the marinade until it’s thick and sticky. Many families don’t even follow the recipe’s measurements, PSA member Raphael Popa said.

“We don’t measure ingredients. We just put as much as we want or how much we think is necessary [into the dish],” said Popa.

But one thing that doesn’t change, no matter the household, is how adobo is served.

“Adobo is meant to be put on a big plate where we all can share as a family. In our culture, everything is on a shared plate … So every day is kind of like a Thanksgiving meal, if you will,” said Paraíso.

Thanks to PSA President Sofia Consing’s mom, Lucia Consing, for the recipe.


1 whole chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 head of garlic, or approximately 10 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ cup white or rice vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil


In a large bowl, marinate the chicken in all the ingredients above (except for the vegetable oil) for as little as 30 minutes or as long as a day ahead. The longer the chicken sits in the marinade, the stronger the flavors will become. As mentioned in the article, add in the ingredients to your liking. If you want some coconut milk to be included, pour some in! You really like garlic? Add in a few extra cloves! This recipe is your oyster.

Heat vegetable oil in a pot on medium high until wisps of smoke appear to be coming from the oil. Place the chicken in the pot, and sear it until it develops a golden brown color, around five minutes. Then flip the chicken and repeat. Brown the chicken in two batches. Do not overcrowd the pan.

With all the chicken in the pot, pour in the marinade. Add enough water into the pot to cover the chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil without stirring. Once the marinade begins to boil, lower the heat and cover the pot.

Simmer until the chicken is cooked and tender, approximately one hour. Serve atop a hot bed of white rice.

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