Adobo is perhaps the most well-known Filipino dish out there. It’s even considered by many as the national dish of the Philippines. As a Filipino, I love seeing the many variations of adobo from around the world, but one of my top favorites is Filipino Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk.
Every Filipino has their own unique recipe for adobo. The ingredients and the amount used in these ingredients depend on which region of the Philippines you’re from or how your mother or grandmother made adobo. In my Filipino family, we each have our own version—some prefer to use pork, some like it sweet, while some like to eat it dry with no sauce.
Coconut milk isn’t traditionally used in Filipino adobo. I was introduced to the recipe for Filipino Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk by America’s Test Kitchen. I’d never tried chicken adobo with coconut milk before, but it seemed too delicious to pass up.
The tricky thing about cooking adobo is the soy sauce to vinegar ratio; some recipes are aggressively tart (too much vinegar) and some are aggressively salty (too much soy sauce). With coconut milk added to the mix, you don’t have to worry about how much soy sauce or vinegar you’re putting in. Coconut milk is the ingredient your adobo has been waiting for—it balances all the flavors and makes a lovely, creamy sauce. True fact: I could honestly live on rice soaked in the sauce for the rest of my life.
Changes I made to this recipe:
- Used light coconut milk. I felt that regular coconut milk would drown the true flavors of adobo.
- Added dark soy sauce to darken the sauce and deepen the flavor.
This dish is incredibly easy to make—it only requires a handful of ingredients and it can be made in one skillet (less work for us, guys!). I used my Lodge Cast Iron Skillet and it’s absolutely perfect for this dish. This chicken adobo is truly Filipino cooking at its finest.
- 6-8 bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
- ⅓ cup less sodium soy sauce
- 1 (13½ oz.) can of coconut milk
- 3⁄4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced (for topping)
- fresh parsley, chopped (for topping)
- ). Place the chicken thighs in a large mixing bowl. Add the soy sauce to the chicken and toss until it’s all coated. Cover with plastic wrap, transfer to refrigerator, and let it marinate for 1 hour.
- ). After chicken is marinated, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat (oil is not needed). Transfer chicken thighs one at a time to the skillet (skin-side down), while making sure to let excess marinade drip back into the mixing bowl. Cook until the chicken is browned, about 8-10 minutes.
- ). While the chicken is browning, whisk coconut milk, vinegar, dark soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper into the leftover soy sauce marinade. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on a clean plate. Wipe off any remaining fat in the skillet, then transfer the chicken back to the skillet (skin-side down again). Add the coconut milk mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.
- ). Flip the chicken skin-side up and continue to simmer until chicken is done, about 15 minutes or internal temperature of chicken is 175ºF.
- ). Take the chicken out of the skillet and transfer to a serving platter. Discard the bay leaves. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the sauce thicken, about 5-8 minutes.
- ). Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with scallions and fresh parsley. Serve with rice.