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An Intro to Adobo: Tender Chicken Adobo Recipe for First-Timers

Plates of adobo and white rice on a table.

Ask any of your Filipino friends what their recommended Filipino dish is and for sure, one of the answers will be adobo. Even locals will debate on adobo’s official position as the Philippines’ national dish because it’s definitely high up in the ranks along with sinigang, lechon, and kare-kare. 

Way before the Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards, our ancestors have developed ways of preserving food in a tropical climate through vinegar and soy sauce. When the Spanish arrived, Franciscan Friar Pedro de San Buenaventura coined the term adobo de naturales or adobo of the natives to refer to this meat preservation technique. 

At present, adobo may refer to either the dish or the method of marinating and stewing meat in vinegar, soy sauce, and spices. This yields a mix of tangy, savory, and tender flavors that best goes with white rice. Given this definition, there really is no one recipe for adobo.

They say there are as many varieties of adobo as there are cooks in the Philippines and they are all special and delicious in their own ways. Most adobo variants differ in their regional origins and the base ingredient that they use. There’s adobo sa gata (coconut milk), adobo sa asin (salt), adobong puti (white vinegar), adobong dilaw (turmeric), and many more. When it comes to the meat used, anything goes! Chicken is a popular choice, but pork, beef, and even seafood variants also exist. Whichever region you’re from, one thing stood the test of time: vinegar and soy sauce remain at the heart of adobo. 

If it’s your first time making adobo, let’s start with the basics! Here’s an easy no-fail Chicken Adobo recipe from Panlasang Pinoy with links to some Organic Coconut Secret products to help you prepare this Filipino-favorite.


  • 2 lbs. chicken cut into serving pieces
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 8 tablespoons Coconut Secret Soy-Free Seasoning Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt optional
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorn


  1. Combine chicken, soy sauce, and garlic in a large bowl. Mix well. Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour. Note: the longer the time, the better.
  2. Heat a cooking pot. Pour cooking oil.
  3. When the oil is hot enough, pan-fry the marinated chicken for 2 minutes per side.
  4. Pour-in the remaining marinade, including garlic. Add water. Bring to a boil
  5. Add dried bay leaves and whole peppercorn. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken gets tender
  6. Add vinegar. Stir and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Put-in the sugar, and salt. Stir and turn the heat off. Serve hot. Share and Enjoy!

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