I am half Filipino. At least, that’s what I tell myself. When I’m with my other Pinoy friends, I struggle to find a sense of belonging because my upbringing was very American in comparison. I do not speak even a tiny bit of Tagalog or Ilocano. I do not refer to my older sister as Ate, nor do I have a kuya. I grew up in an American household speaking English. However, the one thing that I feel I have a strong connection to culturally is Filipino food, which I hold dear to my heart.
My lola and lolo were always nearby, and whenever my mom didn’t feel like cooking, she would take us to their house because they always had food on hand. My grandparents always had a variety of Filipino food, like arroz caldo and pancit, but one of my favorite things that they made for us was chicken adobo, which me and my siblings happily ate. Adobo always brought me comfort, the same comfort that I felt watching teleserye with my lola or helping my lolo with his garden in the backyard. This recipe is my attempt at recreating my lolo’s chicken adobo and is easy and simple to make, as well as being warm and hearty, perfect for the fall and winter.
- 2 pounds chicken thighs (About 4 thighs)
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 6 whole peppercorns
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
- Parsley to garnish
- Combine vinegar, water, soy sauce, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaf in a medium bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Add chicken thighs and let marinate for an hour, turning the chicken occasionally.
- Remove chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add chicken to the pan, browning well on both sides.
- Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
- Remove chicken from the pan and boil the remaining sauce on high heat until reduced to about a ½ cup. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, garnish with parsley and serve on a bed of rice.
Although time and distance makes visits to my grandparents few and far between, this recipe brings me the same sense of home that I feel when I’m with them. As a Filipino who didn’t grow up in the most traditional household, I find that food helps bridge the disconnect I feel between being Filipino and being American. I hope that this recipe not only serves as an easy college-friendly meal but also as a comfort for any homesick Filipinos.