Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chicken Adobo Down Home Filipino

Where I grew up in the countryside northwest of Baltimore, the Jones Falls flowed through our property about 400 yards from its source. Directly across the stream to our south was the small historic African-American community of Chattolanee, which was the end of the line for the Green Spring branch of the Western Maryland Railroad. The little village had a church, a school, and about ten houses. From our house, trees obscured any view of all but the stone school building and one white frame house. Even though Chattalonee was strictly known at the time as an "African American" community, an exception may have existed. One of my earliest memories was my parents speaking of the "Filipino" who lived in that white frame house across the stream. Even though my close friends Shirley and Buck lived right next door to it, they never spoke of the Filipino, and I never observed anyone go in or out, much less noticed any aromas that could have wafted from the kitchen. But today, I am curious, could the Filipino been cooking up anything like the dish to follow? Chicken adobo, of course is the national dish of the Phillipines. Recipes for it are everywhere. This one, however, was the only one I could find that called for coriander seeds, which in my opinion, proved to be an enhancement


6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon annatto seeds
(if you have to substitute 1/4 teaspoon of paprika with a generous pinch of turmeric)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 pounds chicken pieces
2 tablespoons oil

1. Combine the garlic, vinegar, chicken stock, bay leaf, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, annatto seeds and soy sauce in a large bowl. Add the chicken, cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for two hours.
2. Transfer the chicken mixture to a large heavy-based pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid from the pan and continue cooking for 10 more minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Bring the liquid to the boil again and cook over high heat for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, add the chicken in batches, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until crisp and brown. Pour the reduced vinegar mixture over the chicken pieces and serve with rice.

From The Essential Asian Cookbook, Murdoch Books, Sydney, NSW, 1997