Introduction: Adobong Manok (Chicken Adobo)
I loved my time living in the Philippines! It was truly some of the best two years of my life. And I learned so much from the people. One thing I especially learned was how to cook Filipino food. My favorite dinner dish is Adobo. I prefer to make Adobong Manok, or chicken adobo (though it can be made with pork). Just like I prefer to make it with chicken instead of pork, I've made a few other changes to the traditional meal made by Filipino nanays.
Enjoy making you're own dinner and travel with me to a place that holds my heart. And remember:
It's More Fun in the Philippines!
Step 1: Gathering Ingredients
To make Chicken Adobo, you will need:
3-4 Chicken Breasts
3-4 Carrots (of roughly equal size)
1/2 an Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
You will also need a rice cooker (this is what I use all the time but you can cook rice in a normal pot as well) and a deep pan to cook everything else in.
You will need a measuring cup. You can have one that measures out up to a cup and has the other increments along the lip or you can use a 1/4 cup.
Step 2: Heating the Pan
First thing first, we need a pan to cook in! I prefer to use a deep pan, but you can use a pot instead but remember this pot/pan is what will cook the chicken and everything else besides the rice.
Pour only enough oil in the pan to make sure the chicken will not stick. I use spray oil (like what is used for baking pans) because it doesn't leave an excess of oil that will need to be removed later on. Turn the burner on to a 3 to heat the pan up while you move on to the next step.
Step 3: Cut the Chicken
Look at your chicken breasts to see if there needs to be any trimming done. Nobody likes tons of fatty edges to their chicken :P
Once your chicken is trimmed down, take a knife (I use a saw knife since it cuts chicken nicer than normal knives) and cut your 3 or 4 chicken breasts into 1in cubes. This will make it so you won't have to cut it later when you're eating. Now you can add what spices you like to it! I add a little salt and black pepper before using my Asian spice mix but you can flavor your chicken however you would like.
Place the flavored chicken in the heated pan and cook only til the outsides of the chicken is now longer pink. It'll finish cooking all the way through with everything else.
Step 4: Getting the Rice Ready
Like I said in the ingredients page, I prefer to use a rice cooker since that's what I used while living in the Philippines, but a pot works just as well. I use Jasmine rice, again because of preference, but any rice you like will work. This is where my conventions of cooking does not follow the American norm. I don't measure my rice out and put a rice-to-water ratio together. I learned from the native Filipinos I lived with that the amount of water you add to your rice should measure up to about half way between the first two knuckles on your first two fingers.
Warning: This is not an exact science. Sometimes more water will need to be added to make sure the rice cooked all the way through
Rice should be put on at the same time as the chicken to ensure that it is cooked all the way through by the time you are done with the rest of the steps.
Step 5: Dice the Onion
I'm going to note here that I'm sorry I don't have a picture of the cut onion and garlic..
While the chicken is browning and the rice is starting to cook, we can move on to the rest of the cutting. These steps will require a different knife than what was used to cut the chicken along with a different board (don't want to contaminate the rest of our food with raw chicken juices). This knife is best if it is a straight edged, thick knife as it will be used mostly for dicing and mincing.
Start with your 1/2 (half) an onion and slice it first into about 1/4in strips. Take each strip (note this does not mean taking the layers apart. Keep all layers together or you'll have LOTS of cutting to do) and dice them into small pieces.
Put these pieces to the side while you move on to the garlic.
Step 6: Mince the Garlic
Then comes the garlic. Take one clove at a time, turn your knife so the flat edge is against the clove, and VERY CAREFULLY smash down on the clove so that it becomes flat. Be carefully to keep the knife and your hand flat so that the edge of the knife does not cut into your palm. This smashing enables you to remove the skin easier and releases the aroma of the garlic. Once both cloves have been smashed and skin removed, mince the garlic into even smaller pieces than the onion.
Once both garlic and onion have been chopped, add them to the chicken to start cooking and give more flavor to the chicken.
Step 7: Cutting the Carrots
This is where my version of adobo differs greatly from the traditional Filipino. Filipinos with add potatoes to their adobo. I prefer carrots because it allows me to make sure I have my vegetables with this meal. If you would prefer potatoes, follow the same rules that I have given for carrots and just substitute carrots for potatoes.
Since the carrots will be cooking in the pan with the chicken and sauce, it is best to have carrots that are roughly the same size so the cubes will cook evenly and at roughly the same pace.
Either using the same knife as the onion and garlic or using a peeler, peel the skin off the carrots. On the same board that you cut the onion and garlic and using the same knife, cut off the tip of each carrot. Then smoothly and precisely, cut the carrots, one by one, into same size chucks. I like my in rings but you can also cut them into same sized cubes. Cut until you come to the last 1/4in at the top of each carrot. That part can be thrown out along with the the very tip that was cut off at the beginning.
Once all the carrots are cut up, these chunks are added to the pan with the chicken. By this point the chicken should be nicely cooked on the outside. It's okay (and in fact preferred) if it's not completely cooked; it'll finish cooking in the sauce along with the carrots. Just make sure there is no pink showing on the chicken before adding the carrots.
Step 8: Making the Sauce
So this sauce is comprised of the soy sauce and vinegar. Pour a 1/2 cup of soy sauce and add that to the chicken pan. Next comes a 1/4 cup of vinegar added to the pan as well. Stir the vinegar and soy sauce together so that the chicken and carrots are nicely coated in the sauce.
Step 9: Let Simmer
Now that everything as been added to the pan, it's time to let it all cook. Put a lid on the pan and allow the contents to simmer on a heat of 2 for roughly 6 minutes, or until the carrots are cooked through enough so that a fork can pass through easily.
While the contents of the pan are simmering, check on the rice in the cooker. See if the rice is drying out on top and needs more water added. If water is needed, do a 1/4 cup at a time otherwise the rice could come out more sticky and runny than it is supposed to come out.
Step 10: Enjoy!
After the carrots are cooked all the way through, you are ready to eat!
Start by dishing out the amount rice you would like in the center of the plate (or you can use a bowl). Then taking a cooking spoon, ladle out the chicken, carrots, and sauce. This is called the gulay, which just means everything that goes on top of the rice. And that's exactly where you ladle everything, on top of your pile of rice.
Now to truly have the Filipino experience (because come on; you're eating a Filipino dish), forget your knife, that's why we cut our chicken into small cubes. Instead pick up a spoon and a fork. Using the fork as only a guide/shovel, scoop up a spoonful of rice with some chicken or a carrot. And now you're enjoying life the Filipino way!
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