How to Cook Chicken Adobo with a Modern Twist
For many Filipinos, learning how to cook chicken adobo counts as a life milestone. Warm, familiar, and ever-present on our tables, it’s an institution among comfort foods—the very meal our mothers made for us growing up. With each delicious bite, you can’t help but feel at ease.
However, if you’re a stickler for your health, you may have come to the sad conclusion that chicken adobo is quite the indulgence. Because of its salty, meat-centric nature, it’s the kind of dish a health nut will only get to have occasionally.
Here’s some good news: while it’s certainly a far cry from a bowlful of salad, chicken adobo can be prepared in a way that increases its nutritional value. All you need to do is add a hearty leafy green to the mix. And voilà! Your adobo gets a wholesome veggie touch.
Want to see how to cook chicken adobo in a modern, healthy way? Read on for the recipe.
- 1 kilogram chicken cut ups
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 6 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 pc onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 pcs bay leaves
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns, slightly crushed
- 2 pc Knorr chicken cubes
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 cup or spinach
- Heat the oil in a pan and sauté garlic and onions. Add the chicken and sear it on all sides until the skin starts to brown.
- Pour in the vinegar, soy sauce, and water. Add the bay leaves, pepper, and Knorr Chicken Cubes.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Do not cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken pieces and fry in another pan until nicely browned.
- Place the fried chicken pieces back into the first pan. Add the spinach and sugar and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Serve warm.
The simple addition of spinach boosts the nutritional value of your adobo, introducing the goodness of Vitamin C and iron. Spinach is also rich in fiber, which keeps you fuller for longer and aids your body in better digestion. If accessibility is an issue, you can switch the spinach for other leafy greens—kale, for instance, would be a great substitute. Just be sure to choose veggies with a more-or-less neutral taste to keep the adobo flavor profile intact. One small but important thing to remember: never cover your adobo while it’s cooking. You want to keep the pan open to allow the vinegar to evaporate properly. If it doesn’t, you may end up with too much acid in both the flavor and fragrance of your adobo. As with most dishes in Filipino cuisine, we love a little sourness, as long as it’s just right. And when you master how to cook chicken adobo, whether it’s your momma's recipe or this healthy version, you’re mastering that balancing act, too.