Surprise mom on Mother’s Day or any day of the year with a Filipino home-cooked dish like Adobong Pula – Chicken Adobo in Atsuete. My readers and friends emailed to ask for classic Filipino recipes for many reasons: “I’d like to surprise my mama” or “I want my mother-in-law to know I can cook” or the best reason so far “I want to recreate my mother’s cooking”.
Even if my late mother settled down in Tarlac after marrying my dad and cooked Kapampangan dishes, she often referred to her Ilonggo roots and made recipes from her childhood in Iloilo, passed on by my grandmother. So, when my niece posted her photo of adobo with atsuitis on Facebook, I was reminded of mom’s classic recipes.
The pula (red color) in this adobo is from the atsuete (annatto) seeds in the recipe. There are two ways to add this: Use the liquid from soaking annatto seeds or add instant annatto powder. I have cooked adobong pula using either the liquid or the powder, and each time the results were marvelous.
The achuete or annatto adds a nutty, saltier flavor and a vivid reddish hue to the tangy chicken stew. As the chicken simmers in the rich, red broth, the familiar garlic and vinegar aromas float around to reassure you it’s going to be a great dish. The red tint from the achuete turns into a deep, magenta as the broth and meats get even more flavorful for days after, that is, if there are even any leftovers.
Mother’s Day is an American holiday which has been commercially blown out of proportion. In the Philippines, the retail industry has embraced the stateside holiday and over the years convinced Pinoys to celebrate it as well. My point is, you don’t have to wait for a retail holiday to tell you to cook for the ones who mean a lot. No matter where you are in the world, you can cook the easiest Filipino dish in existence all year round and make mom or the mothers in your life feel special. Serve this with a lot of love even after Mother’s Day.
Adobong Pula - Chicken Adobo in Atsuete
- 2 Tablespoons atsuete (annatto seeds)
- 1 cup warm water for soaking atsuete seeds
- 1/2 cup Heinz cider vinegar or use white vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 8 cloves garlic peeled, minced
- 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 pounds chicken cutlets bone-in
- 2 to 3 pieces bay leaves
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- boiled rice for serving
To cook stove-top
- In a small bowl, soak the atsuete (annatto) seeds in warm water for at least 30 minutes.When water has turned red, set aside the cup of water for adding to the stew. Discard the seeds.
- In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorns, garlic, salt, black pepper. Marinate the chicken pieces in this liquid for at least 30 minutes.
- In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough, saute the garlic. Add the atsuete (annatto) liquid.Add the marinated chicken and the marinade.
- Add the bay leaves and chicken broth. Cover and let the stew boil. After it boils in about 8 to 10 minutes, lower heat to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat for 55 to 60 minutes till chicken is completely cooked.Serve warm with boiled rice.
To cook Adobong Pula in the Instant Pot
- Soak the atsuete seeds in warm water and follow instructions as above to set aside the liquid.Marinate the chicken in the following: Vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorns, garlic, salt, black pepper for at least 30 minutes.
- Click Saute. Add the vegetable oil to the inside pot. When oil is hot enough in 1 to 2 minutes, saute the garlic and the atsuete liquid.Add the marinated chicken, the marinade and bay leaves. Pour the chicken broth.Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the steam release handle to a Sealing Position.Click Manual and cook on High Pressure/Poultry for 40 minutes.
- When buzzer sounds to announce cook time is done, do a NPR (natural pressure release) for about 5 minutes, allowing the steam to come down on its own. When the float pin drops, it is safe to unlock the lid. Press Cancel to turn off. Open lid carefully.Serve the adobo warm with rice.
Notes on the Instant Pot
- After the Saute function, it takes about 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat before the High Pressure cooking time begins. For other multi-cooker pressure cooker brands, please consult the manual.Use accessories recommended for the Instant Pot like silicone or metal. Do not use glassware in the Instant Pot or similar multi-cookers. Consult the readers' manual for safety precautions.
- If atsuete (annatto) seeds are not available, use Instant Annatto Powder which are sold in Asian markets, large supermarkets or online sources like Amazon. To use: Saute 2 Tablespoons of Annatto Powder with the garlic in the vegetable oil at the start of cooking. Follow the rest of the recipe procedure above.You can also add pork belly cubes to the chicken pieces and follow recipe directions above. This recipe is for 4 pounds of meat in a 6-quart Instant Pot multi-cooker. Be mindful of these measurements when adjusting the recipe if you add pork.
Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot. Buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multi-cooker that cooks in high and low pressure. I was not paid by the Instant Pot company to mention the product or brand nor endorse it. This is not an ad. My views and opinions are my own.