Call us recipe renegades if you will. We just cannot follow those things! We try, but it always fails. In a good way. A few weeks ago, we hosted a filipino-themed dinner party with a few friends, and chicken adobo was on the menu. Adobo is something we’ve never made or even tasted, but we knew we had to try it. We poked around the world wide web to get the basics and consulted foodie experts for a couple of tips. We wanted the dish to be authentic, but with our track record of switching the game up, we already knew the final dish would only border the real thing and then veer just a little to the left. With that knowledge in hand, it was ready, set, go time. We may not be too close to the original version, but rules are meant to be broken.
A tried and true adobo has a few basic ingredients: vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns. After that, there seems to be variations and additions depending on who you know or what you read. Maybe a bit of coconut milk, fresh ginger or even ketchup thrown in the mix. We decided to use apple cider vinegar and brown sugar for sweetness, cornstarch to thicken and browning the chicken first to seal in the marinade. Coconut sounded like a fabulous element to throw in, but not in our adobo itself. Instead we put it in rice, which added a subtle sweetness that mellows the chicken’s tangy flavor.
Chicken Adobo with Coconut Ginger Rice – Serves 4
4 chicken thighs (bone-in)
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cups water
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut, minced
1/2 cup parsley, minced
4 scallions, chopped
1. In a large bowl or flat dish, combine soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, brown sugar and bay leaves with chicken. Marinate for at least an hour or overnight.
2. When ready to cook, swirl a bit of olive oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, lay chicken thighs down, leaving marinade in the dish. Brown chicken on both sides, approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.
3. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Pour in marinade and chicken broth and cook until it begins to boil.
4. Once boiling, add chicken again and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes.
5. Whisk 1/4 cup water with cornstarch and add to chicken. Turn chicken pieces over, cover again and cook until juices run clear (approximately 6-9 minutes).
6. For rice, set 3 cups of water to boiling. Sprinkle a little salt into the water. When water begins to boil, add rice and cook according to directions. Once done, toss with scallions, parsley, ginger and coconut.
7. Serve chicken over chicken and drizzle with a little sauce.
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