In Vancouver, I can NEVER cook anything right.  K has manfully endured many home-cooked meals characterized by a lack of salt, or tough meats.  The only thing that I’ve cooked fit to eat is cakes, so until recently we were in danger of sailing into old age either half-starved or disgustingly fat.

However, now that I actually need to cook to survive I’ve developed a fondness for internet recipes.  And what better place to start that with something that K can actually recognize?

Chicken adobo!  Which, as a mainstay of homestyle Filipino cooking, has whole blogs written just about the myriad types of adobos.

According to, adobos require two things: vinegar and garlic.  Having plenty of both on hand, and some forlorn drumsticks, I set myself to adapting recipes to what was in the pantry and also to the portion needed [all of the recipes called for portions enough for up to 8 people, and I am just one small girl!]

I lacked two of a veritable quintet of ingredients that was in all the recipes I pored over.  Since I have never eaten adobo I don’t know what difference it made.  For the peppercorns I compensated by adding more ground up pepper.  The bay leaf just had to be done without.  Next time!

So here goes:

Alison’s chicken “adobo” for one |
adapted from a combination of crispywaffle, 80breakfasts, and math


5/8 cup white vinegar
15 mL soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 chicken drumsticks
2 cloves garlic, smooshed a little bit
Fresh ground black pepper

Put everything in a small pot and bring it to a boil.  Don’t stir.

After it boils, bring it down to a simmer.  Don’t you dare stir!

(I had to sort of stir at some point to flip over the drumsticks otherwise they wouldn’t cook.  But I tried to wait at least 15 minutes before doing so).  80breakfasts said to wait until you lose the stingy smell of the vinegar, while crispywaffles says never stir, period.  Either way just try to avoid it.  I don’t know why, I’ll just do as they say!

The chicken should be done in about half an hour.  In the meantime cook lots of rice to eat with the sauce.

Remove the chicken and put the sauce aside [there is so little liquid to begin with the sauce should already be reduced to a thicker consistency].

Heat a frying pan and put in a bit of oil.  Brown the chicken.

Plate the chicken when it’s browned all over and pour the sauce on top.

According to Burnt Lumpia, the adobo should taste “piquante” –> just the sort of word K would use!  I wonder if I should have added sugar?  But then maybe I’d just end up with my mother’s version of teriyaki.  I also felt like I was using a lot of vinegar for two little pieces of chicken but the math was worked out very precisely, and the vinegar taste didn’t come out so much at all.

Of course when trying the sniff test to see if the acidity was all cooked off, the cooking vinegar smell hit me hard and left my eyes and nose stinging.  So perhaps I will just listen to crispywaffle and never stir regardless of WHAT it smells like.

But I was happy with this recipe.  It was easy and not too time intensive.  I’ll make it again when K visits, and then he can give an expert’s verdict.

And next time I’ll have that bay leaf and whole peppercorns part ready.