This authentically tangy chicken stew is the ultimate comfort food

What’s for Dinner? Richie Castillo’s family recipe for Philippine adobo

Richie Castillo’s chicken adobo

Richie Castillo’s chicken adobo

 

Philippine adobo is a chicken or pork stew cooked with garlic, soy, vinegar and bay leaf, but there are many variations. It can be wet or dry, sticky or sweet, dark or light. Much as with Irish coddle or stew, each family has their own way of doing it, and it will taste different in each household. In my house we keep it mainly with chicken, wet and dark.

It’s deeply flavourful, and having a warm bowl of this on a cold day makes it our ultimate comfort food.

Vinegar is widely used in Filipino food. It gives it that incredibly tangy and punchy flavour. It’s practical too, as it’s a great form of preservation to protect food from spoilage in the sweltering Filipino heat.

It’s worth seeking out sugar-cane vinegar for this recipe – it has a sweetness and isn’t too acidic. You will find it in most Asian or Middle Eastern shops, but if you’re stuck you could use rice-wine vinegar with a half to one teaspoon of sugar added.

A covered pot of adobo can sit on a table without needing to be put in the fridge. The vinegar stops bacteria from growing, working alongside the fat from the meat, to cure and flavour.

Richie Castillo is a Dublin-based chef running his own pop-up restaurant called Bahay

Richie Castillo’s chicken adobo

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

For the marinade:
275ml white sugarcane vinegar (I use Datu brand, found in all Asian stores)
120ml dark soy sauce
300ml light soy
12 garlic cloves, chopped finely or minced
6 tsps whole black peppercorns
6 bay leaves
1 tbsp brown sugar, to taste (may need more, adjust to taste)

For the meat:
300g skin-on chicken thighs, on the bone
300g skin-on chicken legs, on the bone
450g pork belly, cut into cubes (if you only want chicken, replace this with 450g mix thighs/leg)
2 tbsp vegetable oil for frying

To serve: White steamed rice, finely sliced spring onion, finely sliced fresh red chilli or sliced pickled red chilli

Richie Castillo is Dublin-based chef running his own pop-up restaurant called Bahay
Richie Castillo runs Bahay pop-up restaurant

Method
1
First, you need to marinate the meat. I like to make this in a large Tupperware box. Using the measurements above, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns, sugar and bay leaves until all thoroughly combined.

2 Add the chicken and pork belly (if using) and leave to marinate overnight (or six-plus hours).

3 When you’re ready to cook, transfer the chicken, pork to a large heavy-bottomed pot (I use a dutch oven) and brown it. You can do this in batches in a smaller pot if needed.

4 Once the meat is coloured, add the remaining marinade and 300ml water to your same large pot and bring the meat in liquid to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

5 Taste, and if the sauce is too strong add water, if too acidic, add some sugar. If the sauce is too liquid for your taste, let it reduce down to desired consistency.

6 Serve hot, with plenty of white rice and garnish, and don’t be afraid of the fat at the bottom, that’s where the flavour is.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.