Filipino Chicken Adobo


Chicken and Marinade

  • 750g / 1.5 lb chicken thigh fillets , boneless and skinless (5 – 6 pieces) (Note 1)
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/3 cup (85ml) soy sauce , ordinary all purpose or light (not dark soy sauce, Note 2)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 bay leaves (fresh) or 3 dried

For cooking

  • 2 tbsp oil , separated (vegetable, canola or peanut)
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 small brown onion , diced
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole black pepper (sub 2 tsp coarse cracked pepper)


  • 2 green onions/scallions , sliced (garnish)


  • Combine Chicken and Marinade ingredients in a bowl. Marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to overnight.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over high heat. Remove chicken from marinade (reserve marinade) and place in the pan. Sear both sides until browned – about 1 minute on each side. Do not cook the chicken all the way through.
  • Remove chicken skillet and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in skillet. Add garlic and onion, cook 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Add the reserved marinade, water, sugar and black pepper. Bring it to a simmer then turn heat down to medium high. Simmer 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken smooth side down. Simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes (no need to stir), turning chicken at around 15 minutes, until the sauce reduces down to a thick jam-like syrup.
  • If the sauce isn’t thick enough, remove chicken onto a plate and let the sauce simmer by itself – it will thicken much quicker – then return chicken to the skillet to coat in the glaze.
  • Coat chicken in glaze then serve over rice.


1. Chicken thighs – do NOT substitute with breast. You need the fat in thighs in order for the sauce to reduce down to a glaze. Can also use bone in thighs, wings or drumsticks (add 3/4 cup water and simmer 30 minutes)

2. Doubled marinade and cooking sauce to have enough to pour over rice.

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