This month, the Kulinarya Cooking Club decided to feature Adobo! To many, this is considered our national dish. Ask any Filipino and they will tell you that they have the “best” adobo recipe. It’s no wonder that there are so many variations of this dish. But I tell you – I think I have discovered THE BEST EVER recipe for chicken adobo. (I can already see many Filipinos raising their hands in protest!). But I stand by my statement!
Traditionally, in our home we simmer a combination of pork and chicken in a marinade of soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves, black peppers and garlic. Once done, the meat is removed from the sauce and pan fried separately while the sauce is simmered further to obtain a rich and thicker sauce. Before serving, the meat is once again reunited with the thickened sauce. Many filipinos will insist that adobo be served with a bowl of rice (either garlic fried or steamed) but other than that, “the day after adobo” is excellent as a sandwich filling (in our house we usually lather it with tons of mayonnaise).
I wanted to try something different with the adobo this month so I experimented with David Chang’s Fried Chicken with Octo-vin recipe. I’ve had a lot of success with the Momofuku cookbook – the Chicken and Egg recipe can be found here and the Fried Chicken with the Octo-Vin has been previously featured in Almost Bourdain’s site here.
Reading through the recipe for the Fried Chicken, I thought it would be an interesting twist to use David Chang’s technique for his fried chicken. First he brines the chicken for several hours, then steams it, lets in dry in the refrigerator and finally pan fries the chicken. It is then served with a sauce he refers to as Octo-Vin.
So for my version, I pretty much stuck to the Momofuku tecnique but my brine solution was the adobo marinade. I also changed the octo-vin by cooking it in a saucepan and adapted the ingredients so that the adobo flavours came out. To be completely honest I was a bit hesitant to use Philippine white vinegar instead of the rice wine vinegar in the original recipe but I was amazed at the resulting sauce – very intense and the flavours blended beautifully. I like to call it the Pinoy Octo-Vin. Yes there is a lot of work to this recipe but I promise you – the results are worth it.
Recipe for the Fried Chicken (serves 4)
- 6 chicken thigh cutlets (I deboned mine)
- 4 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar (Philippine brand preferably)
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- a few peppercorns, left whole
- Canola or grapeseed oil for frying
- Combine the water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns in a container and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the chicken and cover. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and no more than 6 hours.
- Set up a steamer on the stove. Drain the chicken and place the brine on the bottom of the steamer (this is your steaming liquid). Put the chicken in the steamer basket and cover. Steam the chicken for 40 minutes on medium high heat. When done, remove it from the steamer and put in on a cooling rack to cool. Chill it in the refrigerator on the rack at least 2 hours (or overnight).
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 3o minutes before you cook it.
- In a deep skillet, heat enough oil for the chicken (I only pan fried the chicken). Fry the chicken in batches until the skin is deep brown and crisp. Around 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
For the Octo-Vinaigrette
- 2 garlic cloves, (I used confit garlic cloves but plain garlic will suffice)
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar (Philippine brand is preferable)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 to 6 peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and heat over low for 10 minutes. Serve on top of the Fried Chicken.
Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.
Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love
for Filipino Food as we do.
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hear from you!
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