Chef Pam Obieta’s Chicken Adobo

adobo garniLast fall, I had the amazing opportunity to accompany my husband on a multi-Asian destination work trip.  Our first stop was in Manila.  I had only 30 hours or so, so I spent my one full day there not shopping, as most people staying in the fashionable suburb of Makati would, but learning to cook.  Previously, I shared my experience cooking with Chef Pam Obieta, and her recipe for PInakbet, Filipino Vegetable Stew.  Chef Pam runs the culinary program at De La Salle University, and has recently opened her private kitchen to teach cooking classes. I can say that she taught me everything I know about Filipino cooking!

Since my return, the one recipe which I’ve made over and over is the one Filipino dish most familiar to non-Filipinos– adobo.  It’s a classic for a reason.  It’s simple and made with readily available ingredients, and quick to cook, belying its complex flavor.  This is in frequent rotation on work days.  So long as I have remembered to defrost chicken in the fridge the night before or when I leave for work on the morning, I can make this in the same time it takes to cook the accompanying pot of rice and a side of stir-fried kale or other greens.  I’m presenting Chef Pam’s original recipe below (with quantities translated into American serving sizes), but in my adaptation I throw in chunks of carrot both for color and added nutrition and occasionally shelled, hard-boiled eggs to make full use of the wonderful sauce.  If you wanted, that’s what you could do with the leftover broth the next day.  You can adjust the amount of garlic to your taste– we like ours extra garlicky.

Chef Pam Obieta’s Chicken Adobo

Historical information from Chef Pam Obieta:

The word “adobo” originate with the Spanish conquistadors and means “marinade.”  The Filipino recipe is indigenous to the islands, however.  The adaptation of vinegar and soy sauce helped in preservation.

Serves 5


2-3  lbs chicken pieces (I uses 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs)

4 whole cloves garlic, peeled and crushed or minced

5 whole black peppercorns

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 bay leaves

2 cups water

2 tablespoons brown sugar


1.  In a deep pot, combine all ingredients except the chicken.  Stir well.

2.  Add the chicken and bring to a boil, then reduce temperature to low and cook, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender.

3.  Serve, with spoonfuls of sauce, over cooked rice (traditionally, white short-grain rice).

mnl cooking

Thanks for coming by! Do you like to take cooking classes when you travel? Please describe any great classes you’ve taken in the comments!