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Make Emma Power's chicken adobo

A simple but effective fiery chicken dish, served with a refreshing tomato salsa

Chicken adobo

Serves 4

Preparation time 130 mins

Cooking time 55 mins

According to many Filipinos, this is the country’s national dish. That's what Power says, describing this chicken adobo as "protein that's braised in vinegar until pungent and rich – a dish that's sweet, sour and salty all at once."

"Cooking softens the acidity of the vinegar," she says, "which then combines with the flavour of the meat to enhance it." The sweet, tangy sauce is offset by the acidity of the salsa.


For the chicken

  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 375ml rice vinegar
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 whole bird's-eye chilies or other fiery chilli
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons peppercorns
  • 12 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on

For the relish

  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • ½ red onion finely sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced


  1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least 2 hours.
  2. Place the chicken in its marinade in a large pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender – around 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the oven to 190ºC (fan) and transfer the chicken thighs on to a baking tray.
  4. Increase the heat under the pan to medium-high, and reduce the sauce down for about 10 minutes until it's got a creamy consistency.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and chillies. Place the chicken on the baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes, until it begins to caramelise.
  6. Return the chicken to the reduced sauce and cook for a few minutes more, then place on a platter and drizzle heavily with sauce.
  7. To make the sauce, finely dice the tomatoes, add the sliced red onions and lemon juice and season. Coriander or flat-leaf parsley can be added for extra colour.