July 29, 2008

Mark Bittman's Chicken Adobo

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I love lots of adobo sauce on my rice
A reader emailed me last week asking for Mark Bittman's Chicken Adobo recipe. I didn't know he has one and thought it might be the Mexican adobo version. I got curious and borrowed from the library his 1998 cookbook HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING and there it is on page 377: Filipino Chicken Adobo. He writes: "The Philippine classic has been called the best chicken dish in the world by a number of friends of mine." He uses the basic Filipino adobo ingredients and finishes the dish in the grill (or broiler) after boiling in the vinegar mixture for 30 minutes. The grilled flavor and the crispy skin and meat make the chicken adobo really special. I altered his recipe a little bit by using only half a cup of soy sauce and adding 1½ tsp of sea salt and half a cup more of water. I also used the dark (cane sugar) vinegar from the Philippine Ilocos province which gives the dish a hint of sweetness and a fruity flavor. I will definitely add this recipe to my growing Adobo recipe collection for my ADOBO COOKBOOK. The dish also gave me an idea to adobo-marinate other meats such as baby back ribs or thin sliced pork belly, then grill directly without boiling them first.

Mark Bittman's Chicken Adobo
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup white or rice vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 whole (3 - 4 pounds) chicken, cut up, trimmed of excess fat, then rinsed and patted dry with paper towels, or use 2 pounds bone-in thighs
  1. Combine the first six ingredients in a covered pot large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice. (You may prepare the chicken in advance up to this point; refrigerate the chicken, in the liquid, for up to a day before proceeding.)
  2. Start a charcoal or wood fire or preheat a gas grill or broiler. The fire need not be too hot, but place the rack just 3 or 4 inches from the heat source.
  3. Remove the chicken and dry it gently with paper towels. (My note: Remove excess fat before boiling sauce.) Boil the sauce over high heat until it is reduced to about 1 cup; discard bay leaves and keep the sauce warm. Meanwhile, grill or broil the chicken until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Serve the chicken with the sauce and white rice.
The aroma of very hot rice and chicken on the banana leaf I lined the serving platter and my plate with evoked memories of my elementary and high school days. The very few times I bought baon (packed lunch) were on school field trips. My mom used to put hot rice in the middle of several layers of large banana leaves then place the hot meat, usually chicken and pork adobo with plenty of sauce, on top of the rice soaking the rice with the sauce, then fold the corners together, tuck them in to make a neat leak-proof bundle. Believe me when you open the package and get a whiff of the fragrant banana leaves, rice, and adobo combination you'll want to dig right in even if you're not very hungry. Banana leaves as a food wrapper or container is way better than plastic boxes or aluminum foil, good for the environment too.:-)


eatingclubvancouver_js said...

I've seen Bittman's adobo recipe but did not make according to his. How does it compare to other adobo recipes? We used Romy Dorotan's on our blog.

 gmirage said...

Very special pa with banana leaves!

I did told you that I don't like vinegar, well in this case since its with soy sauce naman and grilled too, I'd be the first to finish off a plate! Then followed with another serving...YUmm-Y!

Chibog in Chief said...

oh my dear you just made my day!!

raissa said...

Oh my that looks so yummy! adobo chicken but grilled?? wow! wow! wow! and the marinate made into a sauce. Yummy!

Anonymous said...

i've seen many references to bittman's recipe, but I have never actually seen it. I love the finishing on the grill part. I'll have to give that a try.

test it comm said...

That chicken looks tasty!

Lori Lynn said...

I love your banana leaf presentation.

I am on a "vinegar paired with meat" kick. This sounds awesome.

Oggi said...

JS, the adobo is very good. I thought the meat would not be as tender because of the short boiling time but they came out very tender, crispy, and moist and I love the grilled flavor. I have not made any of Romy's adobo except for the shredded and crispy fried sandwiched in ube pandesal which btw is fantastic!:)

G, I use banana leaves from the Philippines whenever I grill chicken or fish, I love the scent of hot food on them, nakakagana, parang picnic atmosphere.:)

Dhanggit, kain na tayo!:)

Raissa, the sauce is so good..my daughter ate the sauce poured over her rice right after eating the chicken, sauce, and rice.:)

Marvin, the grilling part makes perfect sense, I think.:)

Kevin, it is sooo yummy!:)

Lori Lynn, vinegar and meat, the perfect combination!:)

What's Cookin Chicago said...

I would have never thought that Mark Bittman would have an adobo recipe! For our go-to marinade, we let our meat sit in a mixture of soy & vinegar, along with crushed garlic cloves, peppercorn, bay leaf, spices, etc just as if it were adobo. It's especially delicious with beef and pork!

Oggi said...

Joelen, I've never cooked beef adobo. I will make that soon.:)

Anonymous said...

I have that book, too. I was surprised when he called it the best chicken dish in the world. I tried it too and it was classic adobo and really hit the spot.

Oggi said...

Jude, I made it a week later with beef ribs, sooo yummy.

Anonymous said...

FYI - The original recipe called for a dried Chipotle pepper.

Great recipe. I've been enjoying this dish since he first published it in the NYTimes.

Oggi said...

The book didn't have it and if he did include I wouldn't care for it. We Filipinos don't normally put hot pepper in OUR adobo and if we occasionally do we'll use our own bird's eye hot pepper or long green medium-hot pepper and NOT a Mexican variety of hot pepper.

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