December 7, 2023

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What’s for dinner? Chef Leah Cohen’s Filipino chicken adobo

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The variety of flavors, ingredients and techniques present in Asian cuisine can be appreciated any day of the year.

Chef Leah Cohen consistently plates up unique ways that honor her Filipino heritage, whether cooking at restaurants or in her home kitchen.

And for AANHPI heritage month, the Pig & Khao restaurateur shared a traditional Filipino dish — chicken adobo — featured in her cookbook, “Lemongrass and Lime.”

“While Lumpia Shanghai may have been the first Filipino food that my mother served me, this dish was the first Filipino dish that she taught me how to cook,” Cohen said. “Chicken Adobo is a simple one-pot dish with five staples that all Filipinos have on hand — soy sauce, vinegar, black pepper, garlic and bay leaves. I add in a few more ingredients to really amplify the flavor.”

Chicken Adobo with rice, crispy garlic and scallions

PHOTO: A plate of chicken adobo over Jasmine rice.

Melissa Hom

A plate of chicken adobo over Jasmine rice.

1/4 cup canola oil
6 chicken thighs
6 chicken drumsticks
1 large Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup Kikkoman light soy sauce
1/2 cup Chaokoh coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut vinegar (can substitute apple cider vinegar)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaf powder
Steamed jasmine rice
2 tablespoons crispy garlic
2 scallions (green and pale green part), thinly sliced

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Add the chicken thighs and cook for about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a large plate.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and heat until the oil shimmers. Add the chicken legs and cook for about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to the plate with the thighs.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until soft.

Add the garlic, soy sauce, coconut milk, vinegar, 1 cup of water, the sugar, pepper and bay leaf powder and stir until combined. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 1 hour, until the chicken is tender.

If the liquid reduces too quickly or becomes too salty, add a bit of water. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and garnish with crispy garlic and the scallions.