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Filipino Adobo

Filipino Adobo excerpted from The Simple Art of Rice by JJ Johnson with Danica Novgorodoff.

The name adobo, says Chef Angela Dimayuga, author of Filipinx: Heritage Recipes from the Diaspora, “was bestowed by Spanish colonizers, referring to the use of vinegar and seasonings to preserve meat, but the stew existed long before their arrival. It is always made with vinegar, and often soy sauce, but there are as many adobo recipes as there are Filipino cooks.” Any type of white or brown rice works well with this dish, which makes a beautiful meal for your dinner table.

Filipino Adobo excerpted from The Simple Art of Rice by JJ Johnson with Danica Novgorodoff.

Filipino Adobo

JJ Johnson with Danica Novgorodoff
Let the sauce simmer and really reduce in the skillet—don’t rush it. Serve sautéed kale or other bitter greens alongside.
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 4 people


  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cups white long-grain rice, cooked
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, onion, garlic, brown sugar, pepper, and water. Set aside.
  • Season the chicken with the salt. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the chicken thighs, skin side down, to the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the skin on the first side is golden and crisp, then turn and repeat on the other side; remove the chicken to a large plate when it is done.
  • Return all the chicken to the skillet and pour the soy mixture over it. Add the bay leaves and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. The chicken should be tender and almost falling off the bone, and the sauce should be syrupy. If the sauce is too thin when the chicken is done, remove the lid and simmer, uncovered, for several minutes to reduce it.
  • To serve, spoon the hot rice into a serving dish. Top with the chicken and sauce and remove the bay leaves. Scatter the sliced scallions over it and serve immediately.


Recipe reprinted with permission from The Simple Art of Rice by JJ Johnson with Danica Novgorodoff (Flatiron Books, 2023). Photography by Beatriz da Costa.
Keyword chicken, Danica Novgorodoff, fish sauce, JJ Johnson, Rice, Scallions, Soy sauce, The Simple Art of Rice

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