Posts Tagged ‘adobo’

White Chicken Adobo

White Chicken Adobo

I remember the exchange of emails just like it was yesterday.  A couple of Filipina friends exploring the possibility of starting a cooking club that would promote Filipino food.  We talked about designing a banner and spent a few days coming up with an “introduction” to our club.  We talked about having monthly themes which we would then post our own version of on our blogs.  So in November 2009 a group of three friends decided to officially kick off the the Kulinarya Cooking Club.  I’m proud to say that twenty dishes later, the group still continues to celebrate the wonderful flavours of the Philippines. In fact, the group today numbers over 50 members!

This month, Kulinarya does “White Food”, chosen by Adora from Adora’s Box and Diona from Tita Flips.

I’ve chosen to share my version of one of the Philippine’s well known and most loved dishes…adobo.   Now,  you must realize that Filipinos take their adobo very seriously.  Almost everyone seems to think that their version is the best.  Well,  this version is sure to rival the best of the best.  Seriously.

A more common version of adobo is cooked with vinegar and soy, this recipe eliminates the soy sauce, which makes it the “white” version of adobo.  Adobo is essentially a stew, usually made with chicken and pork, where the meat is simmered over and the dish is finished by pan frying the meat before serving.  Quite different from  most stews where the meat is seared and then simmered over a long time.  As for me, I’ve pan fried the meat before and after simmering – a little extra step but I do love the resulting crispiness of the chicken skin in this recipe.

Adobong Puti (White Chicken Adobo)

Serves 4

  • 8 chicken thighs, de-boned (with skin on)
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 125 ml white vinegar
  • 6 pieces black pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt  to taste
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large pan. When hot, add the chicken in batches to brown the skin, around 3 minutes. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan.
  2. Remove the chicken pieces and take out some of the oil in the pan and put the pan back on the heat.
  3. Add the garlic and saute, then add the white vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves and chicken. Allow the vinegar to come to a boil then add enough water to cover the chicken, around 500 to 750 ml.
  4. Allow the chicken to simmer, around 30 minutes until cooked. When done, remove the chicken from the pan and allow the sauce to simmer further until the sauce thickens to almost a syrup, around 20 minutes. When ready to serve the chicken, heat the rest of the oil in a separate pan and crisp the skin once more. Serve the sauce on the side and some white rice.

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Momofuku Style Chicken Adobo

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.

Chicken Adobo - Momofuku Style

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 3o minutes before you cook it.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Pinoy Octo-Vin (Filipino Style Octo Vinaigrette)

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.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to

hear from you!

Trissa, Kath and Trish



Welcome new Kulinarya Members (if I have missed anyone out PLEASE email me!)

Olive http://www.latestrecipes.net/

Caroline http://whenadobometfeijoada.blogspot.com/

Peachy http://www.thepeachkitchen.com/

Althea http://www.busogsarap.com/

Stumble It!

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Family Secrets & Empanadas

Empanada "Kaliskis"

Empanada "Kaliskis"

Filipinos are funny about their secrets.  They are also notorious gossips.  So some things they divulge in a blink of the eye while other secrets they keep to their graves.

Ask a Filipino to tell you about their family history and you might hear him talk about of how an aunt of the family got pregnant at 16 with the family driver and gave birth to a child who was adopted by her mother and this child grew up as the aunt’s daughter.  Or how their best friend had a one night stand with the fiancee’s best friend  the night before the wedding and how nine months later the little bub looked strikingly similar to the now husband’s best friend.  Confusing isn’t it?  But makes for great family conversations!

In fact, Filipinos are so open about these so called “family secrets”, or most secrets in general, that my English brother in law once remarked that there are NO FILIPINO SECRET AGENTS.  For the simple fact that they would have failed the psychological portion of the exam that determines how willing you are to give up super top secrets!  Can you imagine a Filipino secret agent being dragged to a room to be interogated by a the CIA  and before they enter the room the Filipino tells the CIA “by the way, did you hear about the little atomic bomb the terrorists in the South are looking to build?”…


BUT never ask a Filipino to share a family recipe.  NEVER.  They simply won’t.  These are the secrets they take with them to their grave.  These are the recipes that are passed on from one generation to another and another and yet another but will never be shared outside the confines of the family.

I remember in my university days a funny conversation I had with a schoolmate.  She had just shared with me a very sad family problem over afternoon tea.  We were having empanadas which we bought in the bakery across school.  Between sobs she mentioned that the emapanadas were similar to what her aunt made and they were a family specialty.   I asked if she could share the recipe with me and she replied that her mother swore her to secrecy.  I found it funny how she was willing to tell me about her father’s affair with her brother’s school teacher but not willing to share the empanada recipe!

See how neatly pleated they are?!  Thank you Ellie for the tips!

See how neatly pleated they are?!

The empanadas we had that afternoon were something that I have always been meaning to recreate.  They were not the typical empanadas as they were very flaky and tender and  called “kaliskis” which in Filipino refers to it looking like fish scales.  It took awhile before I found out how to make them but many years later here they are!  Luckily for me, there is a vast resource over the internet as well as great cookbooks such Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Dumplings which details the procedure of how to make this flaky pastry which I found out has Chinese origins.  Her site, Asiandumplingtips.com is an excellent resource.

The recipe for the pastry below is adapted from Andrea’s book which can be purchased on Amazon.  It is a fantastic resource and if you love dumplings (which I do in all shapes, sizes and forms!), this is a must have.

The recipe for the filling is my own.  I decided to use adobo flakes, salted red eggs and some mayonnaise as filling because I wanted to sure there was no mistake that this was a Filipino snack!

Adobo, salted eggs and mayonnaise

Adobo, salted eggs and mayonnaise

Flaky Pastry

Outer Dough

  • 125 grams flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 15 grams lard
  • 5 tablespoons warm water

Inner Dough

  • 85 grams flour
  • 85 grams lard, cut into 1/2 inch pieces


  • 2 chicken thighs (with skin on)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 peppercorns
  1. To make the outer dough, combine the flour, salt, sugar and lard in a food processor.  Blend until it resembles a sandy consistency.
  2. Transfer the mix to a bowl and make a well in the center and add the water one tablespoon at a time.  Use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients.  Toss the contents to a lightly floured surface and knead for around two minutes. This should create a soft, smooth and slightly elastic dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for about 30 minutes. (note: you can add more flour if it feels too wet)
  3. For the inner dough, mix the flour and lard again in a food processor for around 10 seconds to blend the mixture.  Transfer to a bowl and mix to combine.  It should resemble soft cookie dough.
  4. Gather and pat the dough into a rough ball and place on a lightly floured work surface.  Gently pat the dough and form into a smooth ball and set aside.
  5. To encase the inner dough in the outer dough, roll the outer dough into a 16 cm circle.  Center the ball of the inner dough on top and then gently pull up and press the outer dough, pinching the ends together to completely encase the inner dough.
  6. Use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough into a square (Andrea uses an oblong shape but I didn’t read it properly at first and used a square!) about 21 cm wide and 31 cm long.  Once done, fold the dough into thirds like a letter. DSC_0004
  7. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll out again 21cm wide by 31 cm long, and then fold into thirds like a letter.
  8. Wrap in plastic wrap and let the dough rest at least 1 hour before using.
  9. When ready to use the pastry, roll it out into a square measuring 30cm by 30cm.  Then, roll the dough from the bottom all the way to the top like a jelly roll.  DSC_0010
  10. Cut the dough into 16 equal parts and to use each part, flatten the dough with the palm of your hand to make a disc, then use a rolling pin to increase the diameter of the dough.

    Cutting the dough into equal portions

    Cutting the dough into equal portions

  11. Fill each dough portion with mayonnaise, adobo and salted red egg.
  12. Deep fry the dumplings at 180c for 5 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and serve.
  13. To use the pastry, the best resource for me was this site form Corner Cafe.  This site shows you the various techniques on how to fold and shape the pastry.

For Adobo

Mix all ingredients for adobo and simmer the chicken for 30 minutes.  Once done, remove the chicken and cool.  Once cool, shred the chicken and fry in some oil until crispy.

Special thanks to Ellie and Lorraine for teaching me to pleat!


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