Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe

This Filipino adobo recipe—different from Spanish adobo—can be paired with any meat or vegetable for a great dish that keeps well in the fridge.

From "Good and Cheap"
September 2015

  • Filipino Adobo Chicken
    Filipino adobo can be anything cooked in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic.
    Photo by Fotolia/uckyo
  • Good and Cheap
    Originally developed by author Leanne Brown to provide quality recipes to those in the SNAP (or Food Stamps) program, "Good and Cheap" features a collection of tasty recipes that can be made on a shoestring budget.
    Cover courtesy of Workman Publishing
  • Filipino Adobo Chicken
  • Good and Cheap

Yield: 4 servings

Good and Cheap (Workman Publishing, 2015) is a cookbook for people with very tight budgets. Author Leanne Brown’s recipes maximize every ingredient and teach economical cooking methods. The book also includes tips on prices and shopping, stocking your pantry with the basics, and mastering the simple extras that make everything taste better. This Filipino Chicken Adobo recipe is from the section “Dinner.”

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Good and Cheap.

This ultra-adaptable recipe comes to us courtesy of Tony Pangilinan, who grew up on food stamps after his family emigrated from the Philippines “with nothing but four suitcases and a lot of dreams.” After several decades of struggle, Tony achieved those dreams and can now help family members who remain in poverty in the Philippines. He says that, despite their hard circumstances, his family still feels blessed.

Filipino adobo—very different from Spanish adobo—is basically anything cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. Although this version is made with chicken, you can use any meat or vegetables you like. Because it’s vinegar-based, it keeps well in the fridge! $1.30/serving; $10.40 total

Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe


• 8 chicken thighs
• 3/4 cup rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
• 3/4 cup soy sauce
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 medium-size potatoes, chopped
• 4 medium-size carrots, sliced
• 2 cups white rice
• 2 pinches of salt
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with
• 1 tablespoon water


1.  Cut off the chicken fat. Don’t get rid of every last bit, just trim what seems excessive.

2. Stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and bay leaves in a large, non-aluminum pan. Add the chicken, coating each piece. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes (overnight is great).

3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat each piece dry with paper towels. (Don’t throw out the marinade! You’ll use it later.)

4. Pour the oil into a large pot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add enough chicken to cover the bottom. Cook until one side of the chicken is browned, just a few minutes, then flip it over and repeat. When the first batch of chicken is done, remove it from the pot and repeat.

5. After all the chicken is browned, put it back in the pot along with the marinade, potatoes, carrots, and 3/4 cup of water. Turn the heat up, bring the liquid to a boil, then decrease the heat to low. Simmer until the meat is cooked through and the carrots and potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes. Cut into the meat. If it’s no longer pink, it’s done.

6. When the dish is almost ready, pour the rice into a medium-size pot with 4 cups of water and the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down and cover with a lid placed slightly askew. Cook until the water is gone, about 20 minutes.

7. Remove the bay leaves from the adobo and stir in the cornstarch and water mixture. Let it thicken until the chicken and vegetables are well glazed. Serve over the rice.

Find more recipes and tips for planning meals on a budget in Eating Well on 4 Dollars a Day.

Reprinted with permission from Good and Cheap, by Leanne Brown, and published by Workman Publishing. Buy this book from our store: Good and Cheap.

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