Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk (Adobong Manok Sa Gata)

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“The best Filipino dishes are the ones that do not have a written recipe other than the knowledge passed on from generation to another. This is one is a great example and it is one of my all time favourite comfort food. Back in the Philippines, when I was still in university, I would always ask my Mom to make this for me every time I come home and visit during the holiday break. This recipe brings back a lot of happy memories and has been a great source of comfort whenever I feel homesick. I have adapted this recipe, again due to the lack of original ingredients. It calls for free-range chicken which has a lot more flavour to it and it can also stand the long cooking time required for this recipe. Use the pepper of your choice. (We used labuyo, or bird's eye chili originally, but I think jalapeno, serano or habanero are good candidates for substitute).”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 12 lbs free-range chicken, cut in 8 portions
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, pounded
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons julienned gingerroot
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14 cup white vinegar
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 800 ml of thick coconut milk (unfortunately light coconut milk doesn't work well with this recipe. You can add more coconut milk i)
  • 1 chili (your choice)
  • 1 lb papaya, peeled, seeds removed, properly cleaned and sliced to bite-sized pieces (proper cleaning of unripe papaya requires lightly squeezing the slices in salt to remove the bittern)


  1. In a large pot, saute ginger, garlic, and lemon grass in oil.
  2. Add the chicken pieces, season with salt, vinegar and a generous sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the vinegar is completely absorbed by the chicken pieces.
  3. Add 400 ml of coconut milk. Stir constantly in the first 10 minutes to avoid curdling of the coconut milk. Then you can cover it and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until the coconut milk is half absorbed. Stir occasionally though to avoid burning it.
  4. Add the slices of green papaya and the chili.
  5. When the papaya is half done, add the remaining 400 ml of coconut milk, again stir in the first 10 minutes to avoid curdling. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes or until all the liquid is almost absorbed and the chicken pieces are falling off the bones.
  6. Serve with lots of steamed rice.

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