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Filipino Adobo

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Hoser View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 February 2012 at 02:36
Yesterday I got the chance to make a recipe that I had been contemplating for quite some time, a Filipino Adobo. Chicken adobo Filipino style is basically chicken marinated in soy sauce with garlic and vinegar, and that did not sound very appetizing to me, so after some research I decided to use a recipe that contained some coconut milk as well.

Ingredients

    8 (5- to 7- ounce) bone-in chicken thighs , trimmed
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    1(13 1/2-ounce) can coconut milk
    3/4cup cider vinegar
    8 garlic cloves , peeled
    4 bay leaves
    2teaspoons pepper
    1 scallion , sliced thin

Instructions

    1. Toss chicken with soy sauce in large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
    2. Remove chicken from soy sauce, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Transfer chicken, skin side down, to 12-inch nonstick skillet; set aside soy sauce.
    3. Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook until chicken skin is browned, 7 to 10 minutes. While chicken is browning, whisk coconut milk, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and pepper into soy sauce.
    4. Transfer chicken to plate and discard fat in skillet. Return chicken to skillet skin side down, add coconut milk mixture, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Flip chicken skin side up and continue to cook, uncovered, until chicken registers 175 degrees, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
    5. Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off surface of sauce. Return skillet to medium-high heat and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

First you marinate the chicken in half a cup of soy sauce for about an hour, turning several times.


Then you add it to a non-stick pan, reserving the marinade and drippings for later use. Brown it skin side down for 7 or 8 minutes, then remove from pan and discard the fat.



While the chicken is browning, add the garlic, vinegar and coconut milk to the leftover soy sauce and whisk it in.

Return the chicken to the pan skin side down and pour the sauce over it...cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes.


Turn chicken over and continue cooking for 15 minutes, or until chicken is 175°F


Then I removed the chicken from the pan, removed the bay leaves, skimmed the scum and thickened the sauce. When that was done I returned the chicken to the pan to warm up and then plated.



As good as this looked and smelled, neither of us cared for it...I actually thought it was quite nasty. The vinegar flavor was still overpowering, and the flavors just did not meld together well. Try it if you wish, but this recipe still needs some serious tweaking.

Go ahead...play with your food!
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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2012 at 07:14
it sure LOOKS good, but by the sounds of it, there's an adjustment somewhere that needs to be made. i've found that if a dish is too far in one direction, a little balance can sometimes, but not always, pull it back to the realm of good eats. you mention too much vinegar taste - perhaps cut it with something sweet? just thinking out loud here, not too sure.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2012 at 13:18
Darn! Wish you had liked it.  Oddly enough, I made my very first Filipino Adobo yesterday too!  I didn't take nearly as many detailed pictures of the process, but I do have a 'meal' pic.

I followed the recipe in the Foods of the World: Pacific and Southeast Asia book, with one main modification.  It calls for half chicken and half pork, but we just used all pork.

While the dish smelled hideously vinegary while it was cooking, there was no vinegar taste when it was done.  We reduced the sauce (which for the same amount of meat was about the same amount of vinegar) for probably 20 minutes.  Maybe it needs a longer reduction.

Anyway, here's our meal including spinach gulay (sauteed spinach) and camote frito (purple and orange sweet potato chips) with white rice.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2012 at 13:25
Marissa, that looks great ~ I love the colours in the picture....
 
I had completely forgotten that FotW has a recipe for this ~ thanks for reminding me!
 
Dave, if you would like to give that one a try, let one of us know, and I am sure we could get it to you.
 
Also, I took the liberty of copying this into the "Southeast Asian" section of the forum, since there seems to be a lot of cross-over in the Phillipinies, and to be honest, I am not sure if Filipino cuisine would be more at home here or there ~ no worries, it will show up in both sections, so it's covered either way! Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2012 at 17:03
You could be spot on about the reduction time Marissa...I was a bit rushed and used some cornstarch to thicken the sauce a bit more quickly...perhaps I didn't give the vinegar quite enough time to boil off.

And by the way....WELCOME !Thumbs Up
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2012 at 18:16
I don't know that I can add much to this, but I was married to a Filipina woman for many years and I've eaten a lot of chicken or pork adobo.

After seeing this thread I did a little looking around on the internet and it seems there is a lot of variation in amounts of things. I know the adobo I ate so much of was almost dry. It was not swimming in a sauce. If chicken then the chicken was a broke down whole bird, bones in, cut into large pieces, i.e. half the breast cut into three pieces, and the thigh cut into two, across the bone, all just whacked with a cleaver. It might have had some green vegetable or leaves of some type mixed in at the last, and was always served next to or on a big pile of white rice (but then everything was served next to or on a big pile of white rice.)

I can tell you with all confidence that a four pound chicken would have no more than 3 tablespoons of vinegar added to it. The vinegar would be sugar cane vinegar. I don't know if that makes a difference. The stuff I'm familiar with was not marinated. Everything (except any vegetables) was thrown in the pot with some water and it was boiled covered for awhile then uncovered and boiled away, turning the meat chunks over to get the color even. It was boiled till just before it began to fry in what fat was rendered, and I think that is key. As long as there is liquid left you are still cooking at approximately 212F, but as soon as that liquid is gone the temp goes up fast. Not good in this case, because instead of a thick emulsion of rendered fat and juices, a glaze if you will,  you would get a greasy mess with an unpleasant tasting gluey-ness behind it. I've eaten it this way too...

So, it was meat, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, bunch of garlic, chiles, and enough water to let it cook for 1/2 hour, off with the lid and reduce, being careful not to burn anything. Throw some green veg in at the end if desired.

I couldn't imagine a chicken cooked in 3/4 cups of vinegar.



 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2012 at 19:06
I used to work for a Filipino woman, Rod, and her adobo was pretty much the way you describe it.
 
3/4 cup vinegar struck me as odd, too. Mia never used more than a couple of tablespoons. And she always used white distilled, but I don't think that matters much. Cider vinegar, particularly with pork, would be a nice touch.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2012 at 19:30
Ok, sounds like I need to post the recipe I used!  It had a very similar meat-to-vinegar ratio as Hoser recipe but none of the vinegar flavor.

This is from the TL FotW series and I'll post it as it appeared and with my changes in brackets.

Quote To serve 6 to 8

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic, mashed to a paste with a mortar and pestle or in a small bowl with the back of a spoon [I just used a garlic press]
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
a 2 1/2 to 3 lb chicken cut into 10 to 12 serving pieces [omitted]
2 1/2 lbs boneless pork shoulder or butt, trimmed of excess fata nd cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
Lard or vegetable oil for frying [used peanut oil]
2 firm ripe tomatoes, each cut lengthwise into 6 or 8 wedges [omitted]
Parsley sprigs [omitted]

[I halved the recipe but still used 2 1/2 lbs of pork since I left out the chicken]

Combine the vinegar, water, garlic, salt and pepper in a heavy 5- to 6- quart casserole and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the chicken and pork and turn them about with a spoon to coat the pieces evenly with the vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, cover again, and simmer for 10 minutes linger, or until the pork is tender and shows no resistance when pierced with the point of a small, sharp knife.

With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and pork to a plate. Increase the heat to high and, stirring occasionally, boil the liquid remaining in the casserole for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the spoon and is reduced to about 1 cup [Ours should have been 1/2 cup but we kept going as it was super thin and still smelled strongly of vinegar.  We probably boiled vigorously for 20 minutes, until it was maybe 1/4 cup].  Remove the casserole from the heat, let the sauce settle for a few minutes, then skim off as much fat as possible from the surface. Pour the fat into a heavy 12-inch skillet [we had no fat to speak of...must have been a lean cut of pork!].  Taste the sauce for seasoning, then cover to keep it warm.

Add enough lard or vegetable oil to the skillet to make a layer of fat at least 1/4 inch deep, and place the pan over high heat. When the fat is very hot but not smoking, born the hicken and pork, 7 or 8 pieces at a time, turning them frequently with the tongs and regulating the heat so they color richly and evenly without burning. (If necessary, add more lard or oil to the skillet to keep the fat at a depth of 1/4 inch.) As they brown, transfer the pieces of meat to a heated platter and drape it loosely with foil to keep the meat warm.

To serve, pour the reserved sauce over the meat and garnish the platter with tomato wedges and parsley springs [both out of season, so we omitted]. Adobo is traditionally accompanied by plain white rice, boiled without salt.

Hoser, I also thought the amount of vinegar was going to make a weird tasting dish (I think I used the phrase "not promising" when we picked the recipe...) but went with it anyway.  I loved it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2012 at 19:38
Well, there ya go! There must be something to reducing vinegar that changes the pH. I wonder what is happening...
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