The Newbie Cook
- 16,713 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
It was a very warm early spring day when Chris suggested going to Red Bank Battlefield Park for a picnic. After the last four months of winter, a picnic would be a welcome treat and I instantly started packing food for lunch.
It would’ve been so easy to make a few sandwiches and stuff them in a bag along with a couple bottles of juice, but no… I just had to go ahead and cook my planned menu for the day. Besides, I’ve been thinking of chicken adobo for weeks now and I firmly believe in satisfying one’s cravings as soon as possible. Filipinos are used to toting lots of utensils, plates and tupperwares containing viands and rice; we don’t mind the hassle of added weight and cleaning up after as long as we could eat our precious rice meals. Chris raised his brows when he saw the big paper bag stuffed near to bursting.
“What’s in that?”
“Umm… adobo. And rice. And other things.”
Since he has never had adobo before, Chris couldn’t wait to try some since I spent the last week going on and on about my mom’s version of adobo. There was a funny moment when the plates were set on the picnic table and he was digging through the bag, looking for a knife.
“Sorry. I just brought a spoon and fork for you,” I laughed. “I forgot you’re not Filipino.”
Most Pinoy foods have relatively tender or thinly sliced meat because we use just a spoon and fork for eating. For us, a spoon is not only a utensil for soup, we also need it to scoop up the rice along with the viand. Chris valiantly tried to eat with the spoon but, after a few minutes of watching him struggle without his usual knife, I took pity on him and quickly cut up the chicken into bite-sized chunks.
“My mom used to do this for me when I was a baby.”
You should’ve seen the look he gave me. 😀
Luckily, he liked the adobo and here he is all full and satisfied afterwards. There were no leftovers.
This is my first attempt to cook adobo so I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how easy it is. There are a just few ingredients, all of which are common items in a Pinoy kitchen.
I marinated the chicken for one full day so the meat soaked up the flavor. Most Pinoys cook potatoes along with this but I’m not crazy about that so I added hard-boiled chicken eggs to go along with the chicken slices. Because it is so flavorful, adobo has to be eaten with plain white rice to neutralize the saltiness and bring out the yumminess of the dish.
Miki Garcia’s recipe follows after the jump.
from The Filipino Cookbook by Miki Garcia p. 64
2 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks
1 tablespoon oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of the knife
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, sliced into rings
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled – optional; I added these
1 cup (250 ml) Filipino cane vinegar OR 3/4 cup white or cider vinegar diluted with 1/4 cup water
1 cup (250 ml) soy sauce
1/4 cup (65 ml) freshly-squeezed calamansi or lime juice
Combine the marinade ingredients in bowl and and mix thoroughly. Add the chicken and store overnight in a refrigerator.
Remove the chicken from the marinade. Reserve the marinade.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add the chicken and saute for 10 minutes.
Add the marinade, peppercorns, sugar, and bay leaf. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Drop the peeled hard-boiled eggs into the skillet. Simmer until the meat is tender, around 45 minutes or more. Add the onion and simmer for 5 minutes more. Serve hot with steamed rice.