Philippines Chicken Adobo with Rice

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

The Rice Book

By Sri Owen

Published 1994

  • About

For people who live in rice-growing countries, and especially for those who eat rice three times a day by choice, the best rice of all is plain boiled rice. If you proceed to cook it further in the oven, as you will do if you are influenced by foreign recipes (including many in this book), then for these purists you are overcooking it. The recipe that follows is worthy in its own right of inclusion here, but it is respectfully dedicated to the purists, for here the boiled rice is served in a separate bowl and everyone can help themselves and mix it with their Chicken Adobo, or Adobong Manok, as they call it in the Philippines. I suggest you boil the rice while the chicken dish is cooking.

Preparation time: 15–20 minutes
Cooking: 40–45 minutes


  • 450 g/1 lb/2 cups long grain rice, plain boiled
  • 1.1–1.4 kg/2½–3 lb chicken, cut into serving pieces, the fat and skin discarded
  • 6–8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 112 ml/4 fl oz/½ cup white vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1.1 litres/2 pints/5 cups water
  • 1 or 2 kaffir lime leaves or bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½–1 tsp coarsely-ground black pepper or chopped chillies
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 140 ml/5 fl oz/⅔ cup very thick coconut milk


Put the chicken pieces into a large saucepan, add the garlic, vinegar, water, kaffir lime or bay leaves, pepper or chilli, and salt. Bring to the boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a colander. Turn the heat up under the saucepan and boil the stock until it has reduced to half its original quantity. This will take about 20–25 minutes.

Heat the oil in another saucepan and add the turmeric and paprika. Stir, and add about 6 tablespoons of the coconut milk. Stir once, and put in the chicken pieces. Stir these until every piece is coated in the orange-coloured sauce. Pour in the reduced stock and the rest of the coconut milk. Bring the liquid to the boil and let it bubble gently, stirring often, for 10–15 minutes. Add the fish sauce or soy sauce. Adjust the seasoning, and serve hot, with the plain boiled rice. Any lightly-cooked or stir-fried vegetable will make a suitable accompaniment.