Good and Cheap – Chicken Adobo

When I think of comfort food, the dish that comes to mind is Filipino Adobong Manok or Chicken Adobo. The dish is regarded as the Filipino national dish and is considered both a cooking method and a dish itself. Filipino adobo mixes together a marinade of vinegar, pepper, and garlic which will serve as a braise to cook the chicken. Note that any protein can serve as the basis of an adobo such as pork, chicken, beef, and seafood. Below I present to you the master recipe developed in collaboration with Leanne Brown who successfully funded a marvelous Kickstarter Campaign entitled “Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day (the PDF is free!)” and appears on page 50 of the PDF file or pages 98-99 in her book. It was a pleasure to be able to share this recipe with Leanne and it humbles me to know that others may benefit from it.


Filipino Chicken Adobo
(from Good and Cheap, p. 98-99)

¾ cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
8 chicken thighs, fat trimmed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
¾ cup water
2 medium potatoes, chopped
4 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups white rice
2 tsp cornstarch


4 jalapeños
ginger root, grated


1½ lb pork shoulder or butt, cubed, instead of chicken
1 can coconut milk instead of water chicken schmaltz instead of vegetable oil


In a large, non-aluminum pan, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and bay leaves. Add the chicken, coating each piece thoroughly. Cover and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, but overnight is great.

Pull the chicken out of the marinade and pat each piece dry.

Pour the oil into a large pot on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add enough chicken to fill the bottom of the pot. Let it cook for a few minutes, until one side of the chicken is browned, then flip it over. When the first batch of chicken is done, remove it from the pot and repeat with the remainder.

After all the chicken is browned, put it back in the pot along with the marinade, water, potatoes, and carrots. Turn the heat up until the liquid comes to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the meat near the bone is no longer pink and the carrots and potatoes are cooked through.

About 20 minutes before the adobo is ready, pour the rice into a medium pot with 4 cups of water. Add two pinches of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat with the lid off. Turn the heat down and cover with a lid that is slightly askew to let the steam escape. Cook about 20 minutes, until the water is all gone.

Remove the bay leaves from the adobo. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of water, then stir it into the sauce. Let the sauce boil and thicken until the chicken and vegetables are well glazed. Serve over the rice.