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Late Nite Adobo

Typing out thoughts on a website… when the cravings hit you in the late nite…

Filipino adobo is not to be confused with the Goya spice blend seen in commercials, or the bad guy from Double Dragon, or Adobe-style architecture. While it does have Spanish roots, the Filipino version evolved into it’s own thing. For the most part, the basic building blocks of adobo sauce are vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. From there, anything can be adoboed: veggies, eggs, fish, chicken, pork, unicorn…the only limits are your imagination!

There are numerous variations of adobo in the Philippines based on region. The 2 recipes I tried are a “traditional” prep with chicken thighs, and a Luzon-style prep with chicken wings and coconut milk.

This traditional adobo recipe was simple to cook, with the hardest part being the prep work of cutting the chicken and mincing up the garlic cloves. I asked friends and family beforehand for some tips and tricks, and I quickly realized there’s no easy “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, select, start” cheat code for cooking adobo. Everyone cooks it somewhat differently, and everyone has a variation on the Golden Ratio of soy sauce-to-vinegar. Chicken Adobo

Nevertheless, I simmered away, permeating my apartment with the sweet sweet smells of garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar. 45 mins or so, I was the proud daddy of a decently delicious chicken adobo. It was a little on the salty side, which I prefer to an overly tangy/vinegary sauce. The only caveat to the saltiness is that I usually end up eating a family-sized portion of rice…Oh, and there’s that high-blood pressure thing too. (Just make sure to get the defibrillator ready after you turn on the rice cooker.)

The recipe for this fancier chicken adobo was passed on to me from a NY Times article. Lets just say the final results were worth all of the skepticism that came with getting a recipe from the NY Times. From marinating, to simmering, to broiling the chicken to get a nice golden brown color, there was a good amount of labor involved compared to my previous experience cooking adobo. But even with a shit ton of dishes to wash after all of the extra steps, my hard work payed off and I was rewarded with a beautifully balanced, tangy, salty, sweet chicken adobo! The coconut milk does an awesome job balancing the flavors and adds a nice creaminess to the sauce, while the chilies give it a spicy punch. S-u-c-c-e-s-s! Adobong gata sa manok

Adobo is one of those simple comfort food dishes that’s an icon of every Filipino childhood. Along with rice, this meal hits the spot every time I have a craving for home cooking – whether it’s in the middle of the day, or late at night after stumbling home drunk at 2a.m. (Nothing good ever happens after 2a.m…with the exception of late night adobo…)

Morning, noon or night, what’s a dish you grew up with that absolutely hits the spot like nothing else?


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