Chicken Adobo

This rich and tangy stew is the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. The recipe is a little more time consuming, and has a few more steps, than our usual fare, but we think it’s well worth the time and the wait. Serve with brown rice. 

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Hands-on time: 30   |    Total time: 60   |    Makes: 4 Servings


Cutting board 
Sharp knife (adult needed) 
Measuring cup 
Measuring spoons 
Large bowl 
Large skillet 
Heatproof spatula or tongs 
Can opener 


8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, excess fat removed
1⁄4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup rice, cider, or white vinegar
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 bay leaves, crumbled
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (optional)
1⁄4 cup sliced scallions


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. Put the chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and pepper in the bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight and up to 24 hours. 
  2. Remove the chicken from the bowl and keep the marinade. 
  3. Put the skillet on the stove and turn the heat to high. When the skillet is hot, add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook until well browned, about 7 minutes. (Be careful: the chicken might spatter.) 
  4. Turn the chicken thighs over and cook 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and put it on the plate. Very carefully, pour the fat from the skillet into a can or bowl to cool before throwing it away. 
  5. Return the browned chicken to the skillet and add the marinade. Add the water and, if using, the coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, and cook 20 minutes. Throw away the bay leaves. 
  6. Serve right away garnished with scallions, or cover and refrigerate overnight.