When I left home, adobo was a dish I could cook off the top of my head. The name was bestowed by Spanish colonizers, referring to the use of vinegar and seasonings to preserve meat, but the stew existed long before their arrival. It is always made with vinegar, and often soy sauce, but there are as many adobo recipes as there are Filipino cooks. In this version, coconut — present in three forms: milk, oil and vinegar — brings silkiness and a hint of elegance. Every ingredient announces itself; none are shy. The braised whole peppercorns pop in your mouth.


  • 2 tbsps coconut oil
  • 15 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsps whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks & thighs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup coconut vinegar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 8 fresh bay leaves
  • cooked rice, for serving


1. In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium-high until shimmering. Add the garlic, whole peppercorns, freshly ground pepper and red-pepper flakes, drop the temperature to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is toasted and softened and mixture is fragrant, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook over medium-high, undisturbed, until fat starts to render, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the coconut milk, coconut vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves and 1 cup water, and let the mixture come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken feels loosened and just about falling off the bone, stirring halfway through, about 1 hour.
4. Increase the temperature to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened to a velvety gravy, about 15 minutes. Serve chicken and sauce over rice.


Angela Dimayuga


6 servings




Asian : South East Asian : Filipino