How to cook adobo in under 30 minutes


Today I was in a rush to accomplish several to-do’s on my list.  When finally I was able to sit back, I suddenly realized, it’s 6 pm!  You know what that means: dinner should be ready within the hour!

The endless emails and phone calls throughout the day, complicated by the equally endless summons of 3- and 8-year olds, made me almost forget about our soon-to-be grumbling tummies.  Worse, I wasn’t able to bring out meat from the freezer to thaw.  In short, I didn’t have anything to cook!  What to do? What to do?

Of course, the first few choices were predictable: canned goods!  It was a choice between corned beef, sardines or tuna, with the supporting role going out to —tatadada! Eggs!  Well, at least we have those free range eggs in the fridge. (You know, if you’re still going for those white eggs, try these for once. They’re more expensive but I guarantee, you won’t trade them for your white eggs ever again.)  The second choice was a replay: pork tocino.  That’s what the kids and I had for lunch!

I could almost hear my tastebuds screaming, “No, not again!”  Quite frankly, those canned goods are a lifesaver, so too are these cured meat.  You know and I know that they’re not the best of choices when it comes to your and your family’s health though.  There had to be a better option.

Ting! Suddenly, a bright idea!   I remembered making chicken spread the other day.  To do that, I had to cut up a whole chicken into smaller parts so that I could get the breast and make into a spread.  There is opportunity to satisfy our need for real food tonight, after all.

If you’re facing the same problem as I did — starting with the frozen chicken, and coupled with the lack of any other recado from the kitchen, adobo is your best bet.  Here’s a step-by-step guide to cook this basic adobo when you find yourself in a similarly tight situation:

Step 1: Defrost the chicken.  Thank goodness for microwave oven!  You can now thaw your meat in 5 to 10 minutes using the defrost setting.

Step 2: Hit the chopping board.  While your chicken is thawing, cut up your garlic, a whole medium sized piece of it for every chicken.  Don’t forget to pound and skin.

(This is the part where I also check on the rice cooker.  If there isn’t any more rice left then, this is the right time to wash and boil some grains.)

Step 3:  Take your defrosted chicken.  Leave some skin in and take off the fattier skin portions.  Fat in the skin will make your adobo tasteful but, too much fat in the sauce can literally grow your head to about a foot thicker (just kidding! You know what I mean). Let the chicken sit in a casserole.

Step 4:  Add in the garlic.  Add soy sauce and vinegar in equal parts but consider the brands of condiments you are using.  Some soy sauce may be saltier than others.  Some vinegars, Sukang Iloko included, may kick in a stronger sour punch than others.  Add whole or ground peppers.

Step 5:  Heat the casserole to boil.  Once boiling, bring down the heat.  Keep your chicken covered until the meat cooks.  Bring down to a simmer and open the lid to reduce the sauce.

Step 6:  Call the entire family to dinner.  It’s time to dig in!

If you happen to have marinade, star anise, and herbs such as basil, these can give your adobo its own distinct taste too.  Feel free to add in to Step 4.  If the family likes it spicy, you can add in some hot sauce too (I personally like those Thai Sriracha sauces).  If the kids like it a little sweet, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of brown sugar.

What’s your favorite adobo recipe?  Educate us here please!


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