4.276 Classic Chicken Adobo with Sinangag

-Cycle 4, Item 276-
8 (Tue) October 2013

Classic Chicken Adobo with Sinangag


by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-


The Adobo Road Cookbook (ARC) is a Philippine cookbook.  Published 2013.  Written by Marvin Gapultos, Filipino-American, blogger at Burnt Lumpia, and former owner/chef of food truck The Manila Machine.  

I got ARC for several reasons.  First, the selection of dishes represents a good range of the most popular/mainstream items (e.g., chicken adobo), along with modernized variations (e.g., pork & pineapple adobo).  All casual (think food truck), ideal for a weekend backyard party with friends (perhaps reflecting the author's tastes as a (relatively) young man), pairs well with beer (a point that the he emphasizes throughout), nothing too weird or hardcore (except maybe the chicken feet).  Short intro blurbs explain the background of each, sometimes personal stories.  And the recipes/techniques are simplified/adapted so that they can be made with readily available ingredients and minimal fuss.  I realize that Mr. Gapultos is not the definitive authority on the subject--neither an old grandmother nor formally trained, grew up in the United States, learning to appreciate his ancestral cuisine late in life, just someone who loves food (kinda like me)--but the book seemed a good starting point.

Purchased on my recent trip to Manila (see most recently 4.272 Chicken Curry with Raisin Biryani), it's the one cookbook that I chose to commemorate the visit.  

I started with Classic Chicken Adobo.  Way way better than my prior attempt at the dish (see 4.111 Chicken & Pork & Cauliflower Adobo), a more reasonable balance of vinegar (1/2 cup) to soy sauce (1/4 cup), for starters.  However, it didn't have the same sense of sour/savory balance in taste or the thicker sauciness in texture that I've experienced in the Philippines (see for example 4.264 An Aristocratic Feast for One).  ARC does suggest that cooking an adobo the night before will allow for it to maturate and mellow out, and a dash of sugar may be added to cut the acidity if necessary, so I'll try that next time.  And fresher/stronger bay leaves.  And cracked black pepper, not whole corns.  And minced garlic, not whole cloves.  

With adobo in mind, I bought this cane vinegar in Manila, by far the most common type on local supermarket shelves; slightly richer in flavor than the standard distilled stuff, a bit sweetish like rice wine vinegar.

Speaking of whole cloves, I went my own way on the sinangag (garlic fried rice).  ARC calls for garlic in whole cloves to be lightly sautéed then tossed with the rice, which would take on a faintly garlicky fragrance, leaving the cloves intact in all their explosive intensity.  Every sinangag that I've ever had in Manila, however, involved minced garlic fried to crisp brown then mixed thoroughly with the rice, such that each bite provided a sharp if manageable taste of garlic (see for example 4.263 Parros Clams in Black Bean Sauce with Sinangag).  I didn't use a recipe but winged it (I'm at least that competent).

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