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Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk

Here 's our classic Filipino chicken adobo. It’s a simple stew. I marinated it first, then simmered it low and slow in coconut milk, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaf, black pepper. The chicken cooked till it was tender, tasted tangy, salty and garlicky. Our senses soared with the vinegary aroma all over the house. I scooped a thick thigh while its dark creamy broth descended on the mound of fragrant jasmine rice. It was sheer comfort food, Filipino style. This chicken adobo recipe was adapted from “Memories of Philippine Kitchens” by Amy Besa & Romy Dorotan. This recipe I made serves 4.


  • 1 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup use a Filipino brand, from Asian groceries soy sauce
  • 12 pieces peeled, crushed garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 3-pound whole chicken quartered, cut into serving pieces chicken
  • 1 cup organic chicken broth
  • for serving boiled rice


  • In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the marinade ingredients : rice vinegar, coconut milk, soy sauce, garlic cloves, bay leaves, ground black pepper. Add the chicken and coat the pieces with the marinade. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  • In a large saucepan, over high heat place the chicken, the marinade and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring now and then, to make sure the chicken is covered in the liquid, until the chicken is cooked till tender. This will cook for 40 to 45 minutes, over a slow simmer.
  • Then transfer the chicken pieces to a large bowl and set aside for a few minutes. Meanwhile, raise the heat to medium  and continue cooking the sauce, until it is reduced to the consistency of heavy cream. This should take 5 minutes.
  • Return the chicken pieces to the sauce and cook a few minutes more, about 8 to 10 minutes or till chicken is warmed through.
  • RECIPE NOTES: In the cookbook, the authors used 3 whole birds eye chilies in the recipe. I omitted it this time. Feel free to add if chilies are your preference.
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