Livin’ on Island Time

I mentioned in our last post that Mr. N is studying landforms in school. This weekend he had to put together a model of his chosen landform. Knowing that most of the kids would likely choose a volcano, Mr. N did the next best thing, an island – with a volcano.

And with islands on his mind, he also knew that he wanted to pick a “piece of land with water on all sides” for his next international cooking selection. Now when Mike and I think islands we think of the Bahamas, Hawaii, French Polynesia… Mr. N however surprised us with a country that’s not just one island, but one that’s home to 94 million people and comprised of 7,107 islands – the Philippines.

A quick search of Filipino cuisine and it was clear that Chicken Adobo is a popular recipe and was going to be our first selection. Raymund at Ang Sarap has a great explanation/history of Adobo here as well as a number of other delicious Filipino recipes. You can bet we’ll be reading up on several of his recipes these next few weeks.

For our version of Chicken Adobo, we adapted a recipe we came across at the Los Angeles Times. We started by peeling off 12 whole cloves of garlic.

We then gathered the remaining ingredients including apple cider vinegar and soy sauce,

and ground black pepper and bay leaves.

This recipe really couldn’t be easier. All of the above ingredients are tossed into a stock pot or large skillet along with chicken. We chose skinned and boneless chicken thighs for our version. Mr. N took care of adding the ingredients for us, including tossing in the garlic (literally).

He also poured the cider and soy sauce over the chicken before we covered it.

We let the mix sit in the fridge for a few hours and then brought it to a boil over medium-low heat.

Once boiling, we covered the chicken and simmered it for 25 minutes. We then uncovered the pot and simmered for another 5 minutes at which point we removed the chicken from the sauce. We cooked the sauce down to about a cup.

Mike strained the sauce for us.

And we then tossed the chicken and sauce back into a pan to heat and coat.

I was unsure how this dinner was going to go. Mr. N was hovering the kitchen and kept asking if it was time to eat yet because it smelled really good. Miss A, on the other hand, came to the kitchen and asked what smelled stinky. Fortunately the meal went off pretty darn well. We served our chicken adobo over a barley, instead of rice, and tossed in some sautΓ©ed mushrooms, onions and toasted cashews.

This was a very intensely flavored dish, much more toward the savory side than the other Asian dishes we’ve done. The soy sauce was the predominant flavor, which left Mr. N a little confused. He initially really liked the chicken, but the more it built on him, the more he slowed down. He ended up not finishing his chicken. He said he liked it but just couldn’t eat too much soy and ultimately came in at 2-1/2 to 3 spoons.

Miss A, despite her initial reaction to the aroma, ended up eating quite a bit of the Chicken Adobo and said she gave it 81 spoons (which happened to be the number on Mr. N’s shirt). Based on how much she ate, we’ll guess she gave it 3 spoons which is what Mike and I rang in with too. Mike said it was a “solid” meal and I enjoyed it too. While the soy flavored chicken was a bit too intense for me on its own, the barley helped to tone it down a bit and was a nice complement to the meal. Overall, we’re happy with our first venture into Filipino food, and hopefully it will help Mr. N to remember his island facts for his presentation tomorrow!

Print this recipe: Chicken Adobo

51 thoughts on “Livin’ on Island Time

  1. Marryl All Write says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I love, love, love how you cook as a family. I also do a lot of things with my four-year old daughter. But looking at the pictures of Mr. N and Ms. A makes me want to have another little mini-Me in the house.

    I cook chicken and pork adobo and use a little less vinegar. I simmer it for almost an hour and the taste is just so good with white steamed rice.

    If you fancy desserts and you can find the sweetest mangoes in your area, you should try making Mango Float. here’s my recipe http://marrylallwrite.com/2011/06/05/mango-float-madness/

    I will definitely keep coming back for more of your kitchen adventures.

    Marryl

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  2. thesanties says:

    Awh, the teacher in me just loves Mr. N’s volcano! A+ work! πŸ˜‰

    My husband loves chicken adobo. I have a simple 20 minute recipe, but this looks ohh so much better. Definitely will try!

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    • Kristy says:

      Thanks! He got an “exceeds expectations!” πŸ™‚ I think that counts as an A+ – certainly does in my book anyway. A simple 20 minute recipe sounds like heaven to me.

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  3. A_Boleyn says:

    A very interesting dish … lots of flavours in the Phillipines. I look forward to the rest of the menu.

    Mr. N is not only a good sous chef but looks to be quite the artist as well.

    And, when Romania comes up in your roster, let me know as I’ve located a great site with recipes just like my mom’s … ok, not QUITE as good, but then what is as good as mom’s cooking! πŸ™‚

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    • Kristy says:

      We’ve got a few more yet to come. And thank you so much! I’ll definitely come to you when we pick Romania. πŸ™‚ Thanks! (And nope – nothing is ever quite as good as mom’s cooking – or grandma’s!)

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  4. Stefanie says:

    Adorable island πŸ™‚ And I love the picture of Mr. N literally throwing the garlic in the pot! Adobo is so delicious and simple! I make pork adobo sometimes and it’s so good! This chicken recipe looks great, and I love the idea of cooking down the sauce

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    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Stefanie. Mr. N was so proud of his island. He’s such a creative little guy. I love his imagination. And how he thought to throw that garlic…he surprises me in so many ways. I can imagine this would be great with pork too! πŸ™‚

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  5. sallybr says:

    Hummmmm… for some reason my comment the other day never posted…

    I wonder what happened

    anyway, I loved this post and the photo of the garlic flying in mid air! Priceless!

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    • Kristy says:

      That is odd. I did see it and even responded back. Huh. Anyway, thanks again Sally! Mr. N is such a fun little guy and he’s always been so darn photogenic. Miss A probably is too, but I can never seem to catch her – she always comes out a blur (constantly moving about!). πŸ™‚

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  6. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    Mr. N’s presentation looked amazing. I think you have an artist on your hands and I for one will love to feature him lol :). I also love that you used chicken thighs for this Chicken Adobo recipe.. it looks amazing.And I can see how the soy amount will slow down the amount you eat, so I will just not include much when making this. So I’m guessing whenever Miss A says something “may” be stinky, she may actually end up liking the dish lol. Love this Kristy

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    • Kristy says:

      LOL! Honestly I never know what Miss A will think of something – and how much she eats isn’t always an indication of whether or not she likes it. She’s such a funny little thing. And yes, Mr. N just may grow-up to be an artist of some kind. He’s such a creative little guy. He’s always working on some project or another – and you can bet he always has input when I’m working on one. πŸ™‚

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    • Kristy says:

      Yay! So glad you found us. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. πŸ™‚ The kids grow-up so fast don’t they?! It’s crazy! I’ll pass along your compliment on his project. He worked so hard on it and insisted that we not help him or give him ideas. LOL!

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  7. smartfoodandfit says:

    I agree with everyone else’s comment, that photo of Mr. N tossing the garlic is priceless. He’s a natural in the kitchen, so darn cute! My kids don’t like soy sauce, so I have to reduce the amount called for in the recipe. Looking forward to more Phillipino cuisine! Have a great day!

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  8. bakerbynature says:

    Your son is adorable! I love seeing kids get in the kitchen. As for this chicken – it sounds great! I love the large amount of garlic, and anything with soy sauce usually has me begging for more.

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  9. Kelly says:

    Kristy!

    We just got up from the table where we enjoyed your Chicken Adobo! *So* good! I made two small modifications – adding a little brown sugar to the broth as well as some fresh ginger. I really liked the method of frying following poaching – the chicken turned golden brown and then bathed again in the reduced sauce. DELISH. I served it over wild rice with a generous dollop of yogurt which seemed to work well with the sauce. The boys and I loved it (including the smell when it was simmering – lol- the Miss A jokes were flying at the dinner table… β€œyou know what I think of this country…” :)) – we loved the vinegar accent and found it enormously tasty – a solid 3.5 spoons from the 3 of us. My husband had a harder time with the salty taste – maybe a bit like Mr. N – he suggested some olive oil and maybe a bit less vinegar but he certainly had no trouble gobbling every last bite. He particularly liked the garlic (though my tossing technique was lacklustre compared to your son’s :)). Thanks so much for this delightful recipe Mr. N! I definite redo for this family.

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    • Kristy says:

      Yay! Thank you so much for this wonderful comment. Big smile on my face right now. πŸ™‚ I like the idea of adding ginger to this dish. I LOVE ginger! What type of yogurt did you use? Plain or greek? That sounds like it would be good as well. Yogurt is something I don’t use often enough in recipes. I’m so glad that you guys enjoyed the meal – truly makes me happy. I shared your comment with Mr. N earlier this evening and he and I started laughing about Miss A’s comments again too. He also beamed a bit when I got to the part about his tossing the garlic. Thanks Kelly!

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      • Kelly says:

        I used natural Greek yogurt. A couple of things I really like about Greek yogurt: the creamy texture (no matter what fat content you use – I always use some fat) and the higher protein content than other yogurts. It worked really well with the sauce…. so yummy. Can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch!

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  10. Eva@ kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/ says:

    Clever kid! At his age, I probably wouldn’t have thought of the Philippines! I have perused a few Filipino recipes myself and find them a bit unusual…I’ll look forward to your week of postings. This one uses quite a bit of apple cider vinegar and soy sauce…tangy and salty at the same time. It’s not a cuisine I have had experience with.

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    • Kristy says:

      Filipino cuisine is entirely new to me as well Eva. So far so good! πŸ™‚ I’m always amazed at how many different foods I end up liking on our adventures. It’s opened me up to so many different things.

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  11. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    I love how adept your son looks at cooking. It’s so obvious that he does this all the time. The chicken looks great, even if it was a little soy sauce-y. Thank you so much for the nice comments on the Citrus pumpkin cupcakes. I am so glad they worked out for you. I love feedback like that. Now, how many spoons did they get? πŸ™‚

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    • Kristy says:

      He is becoming quite the chef – more and more adventurous too! Oh gosh – how many spoons on the citrus pumpkin cupcakes? Easily four spoons! I was hoping to have some to take to my mom’s tomorrow…it’s looking like they’ll be gone by then. πŸ˜‰

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  12. spicegirlfla says:

    Your kitchen sounds like so much fun! All that activity that goes on in the making of a dish!! This looks really good; I use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce; slightly thicker than soy and I feel has a less salty taste. Either way the soy sauce definitely “colors” the chicken beautifully!

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  13. Caroline says:

    That photo of Mr. N tossing the garlic is priceless. I literally started laughing when I saw it…so cute! This meal sounds delicious, Kristy. I do love soy sauce, so I wouldn’t mind that being the prominent flavor. πŸ™‚

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  14. sallybr says:

    Loved the choice of “island with a volcano” – too sweet!

    I made a similar recipe not too long ago, we loved it too, I’m afraid mine was not as “authentic” as yours. It had a lot of soy sauce too, and made me unsure of the outcome, but worked well

    the photos in this post are absolutely great! That garlic flying in the pan… quite a shot!

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  15. Charles says:

    What fun! I was hoping you might have picked Iceland then I could have suggested you try some HΓ‘karl (check out this cartoon about it! :D) – hmm, on second thoughts, even I’m not brave enough to try that. I’m not sure it would go down with your kids!

    I’ve heard of Chicken Adobo before, though never tried it. I’m a big fan of strong, robust flavours like these so I think it’s something I’d love. It looks beautiful in the photo too! Rock on Philippines! Great pick Mr. N!

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    • Kristy says:

      LOL – a taste “similar to a very strong cheese slathered in ammonia.” Wow. Yep, I’d be curled up in a corner rocking back and forth too! And I can just imagine the kids’ reactions to that one. LOL! The picture on Wikipedia isn’t very appetizing either. Eek!

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  16. Kelly says:

    Kristy, I’m loving the action shots in this post – Chef Dad and Mr N’s amazing toss πŸ™‚ I find these pictures add a lot of warmth. An island ‘with a volcano’ (favourite line). Ah, boys, they seem to require action and an element of danger by definition. Fab model! I love the simplicity of this adobo meal (and totally impressed with the barley) it brings together some of my favourite ingredients – I’m curious now about the soy sauce and how salty it might feel half way through… I think I will make this tonight. I’ll keep you posted.

    Ok correction, I just read the 81 spoons which happened to be the number on Mr N’s shirt – this is now my new favourite line…HI.LARIOUS – you’re a good writer Kristy!!!

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    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Kelly! Mr. N was cracking me up with that toss. I was not expecting that at all. He looked so darn confident at it too. LOL! Barley is one of my new favorite grains. I’m just loving it. It’s so similar to a risotto in texture, but so much healthier. I’m not going to give up my risottos anytime soon, but barley is definitely going to become a regular side dish around here. I actually thought of you as I was making it…I thought “Kelly would be happy with this – barley in place of white rice.” πŸ™‚ You’re rubbing off on me. If you do make this tonight, you’ll definitely want to serve it with a grain of some kind. It helps to cut the salty factor. πŸ™‚

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    • Kristy says:

      LOL. Yep – been all over his site looking at recipes. πŸ™‚ It’s been a great source of info for this destination. And you know I love the LAT too – I mean those lemon bars are still dancing around in my head. Damn you Greg! πŸ˜‰ LOL.

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    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Mandy! It was all his idea and creation. He made one half of the island a rain forest with canopy trees and vines. The other half has palm trees with coconuts. LOL. πŸ™‚

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  17. rsmacaalay says:

    Wow congratulations on this trial it looks so perfect, I hope you try other wonderful Filipino dishes, I know this might be salty for non Filipinos but trust me there are other dishes that are not. I suggest try the Chicken Afritada or Beef Sinigang next.

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    • Kristy says:

      We’re doing a spin on your pork estofado this week. I know it’s similar to the adobo, but the bananas look so interesting. I’ll check out your other ideas for next week. We’re also thinking about your baked mussels – those look darn tasty too! Thanks Raymund!

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