Adobo is Spanish for sauce or marinade. In this instance, it is braising of the meat in vinegar and pepper. In Philippines, this dish is available everywhere. However, depending where you are in the country, and who is cooking it for you, it can vary from a dry version – with little sauce, to one with plenty of sauce. In other instances, the addition of chicken liver to the sauce is preferred.

Chicken and Pork Adobo



    • 1/2 cup white cane or palm vinegar*
    • 1/4 cup toyo (Filipino soy sauce)*
    • 3/4 – 1 cup water (you may not use all of it)
    • 3 chicken legs (drumstick) and 3 chicken thighs (I like to use dark meat – this should come to about 600-650 grams of chicken)
    • 350-400 grams pork belly (the part with the bone, skin on), cut into generous chunks (about 2 inches)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    • 8-10 cloves garlic, just slightly bashed, skin still on (do not peel!)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • Freshly cracked black pepper, a few twists



Put all the ingredients except for the water in a heavy duty pot and leave for about 30 minutes to marinate. At home, I will even marinate this overnight.

Place the pot over medium heat, add ½ – ¾ cup water, ideally enough to cover the meat, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and simmer without stirring until most of the vinegar’s acid has been cooked off – you will know when this is done because it won’t smell as sharp.

Keep simmering over low heat until the chicken is tender – about 40 minutes to an hour. Taste the sauce.

When chicken is tender, remove the pieces from the pot and set aside.

The garlic cloves at this stage will be very tender. Mash a couple (not all!) of the cloves against the sides of the pot to incorporate it into the sauce.

Keep simmering on low heat until pork is tender – usually another half hour or so.

When pork is very tender, remove from pot and set aside.

Keep simmering sauce until reduced to your desired consistency. Taste the sauce and if you’d like a bit of sweetness, stir in a pinch of brown sugar. (optional)

At this stage, the traditional recipe requires frying the chicken and pork pieces until brown. I prefer to allow the meat to ‘dry’ as much as possible then grilling them until brown.

When the sauce has reduced to your desired consistency, strain the sauce through a fine sieve and discard solids. (I like to keep a couple of the bay leaves and some peppercorn).

Allow sauce to cool – if allowed to cool in the fridge, the fat solidifies on the surface and is easily removed. Spoon the fat from the surface of the sauce.

Add the browned chicken and pork back to the pot. Toss gently and remove from heat.

You can eat it at this point but it gains depth of flavour if you let it rest for a day.

Serve with boiled rice.

*these ingredients are readily available in Asian shops. There is often a section that has all Filipino food and ingredients. Take a look in the freezer section too.


QlinArt - December 1, 2011 - 12:56 pm

Yep, this dish reminds me of a Vietnamese household meal called Thit kho. I love this! Giving me great ideas! Love your photos. You must have lots of good natural lighting in Australia :). BTW one of my closest friends is from the Philippines and I forwarded your site. Thx for posting!