Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Adobong Manok sa Dilaw (Chicken Adobo in Turmeric)

Fact is majority of Filipinos love adobo so much. It is the foundation why the dish is widely regarded and unofficially accepted by everyone as the Philippine national dish. For such a dish that is overly popular, expect variations to be rampant both in the cooking process and in the use of ingredients. Of course, some may come out as just ordinary but there are variations which proved to be really exciting for me. Among them is the “adobo sa dilaw”. It is basically an adobo infused with the earthy and peppery flavor of turmeric called "luyang dilaw" or simply “dilaw” in the Philippine language.

In the dish, the deep flavor of turmeric creates a distinct adobo taste that is both satisfying and truly stimulating. It may not easily appeal to children and those unwilling to explore new dimension in taste but for the adventurous and daring, it will be a surprisingly wonderful food experience. If you are sometimes heavily overwhelmed with the usual version of adobo, due to constant or over exposure to the dish, then this “adobo sa dilaw” is a very refreshing alternative.

Another difference of this adobo version using turmeric is that it is cooked without adding the usual soya sauce. So expect a dish with a unique sumptuous taste flavored by the aromatic rhizomes and deeply hued in orange-yellow rather than in light shade of brown-black color. Except on the above variations, the other ingredients will be basically the same although I particularly added some margarine to complement and at the same time bring out the yummy flavor of the turmeric.

For my first post using “dilaw” or turmeric in an adobo dish, I decided to use chicken meat and not pork. It would be ideal because I have not featured a full chicken adobo yet while I have already posted several adobo versions like in “pork adobo” or “adobong baboy” and “beef adobo” or "adobong baka”.

For the dish, 1 whole chicken, of about 1.3 kilograms or less than 3 lbs, cut up to serving sizes is my preferred cut of meat. You can use your favorite cut like only legs or thighs or wings or breast, but I find using the whole chicken composed of many parts, including liver and gizzard if possible, as the one providing better flavor for adobo. Wash the chicken several times and then drain thoroughly.

Of course the next important ingredient is the “dilaw” or turmeric. It is a rhizome plant of the ginger family. It is native to tropical South Asia and used as a spice in curries and other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, for dyeing as well as to impart color to mustard condiments.

Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia and has become the key ingredient for many Indian, Persian, Thai and Malay dishes. In the Philippines though, it is moderately use in cooking and this one in “adobo” is one of them.

To cook the dish, here are the ingredients we need on top of the cut up chicken above: 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp margarine, 6 gloves garlic, peeled, crushed and roughly chopped, 3 small pcs of turmeric, peeled and julienned to make about 2 tablespoon, 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped, 1 pc laurel or bay leaf, 1 tsp peppercorn, cracked, 1 tsp salt or to taste, 5 tbsp white vinegar and ¼ tbsp sugar, if you like (optional).

In a large wok or large pan or heavy bottomed casserole, heat the vegetable oil and margarine over medium flame. Fry garlic followed by the turmeric. Add in onions and continue frying. Add the bay leaf and half of the cracked pepper and salt.

Add in the chicken pieces and continue sautéing. Cook over medium heat until the chicken renders its own liquid. There is no need to add water. Continue simmering on low heat until the chicken is partially cooked through and liquid is reduced.

Add the vinegar and continue simmering uncovered. When it boils, add the rest of the cracked pepper, adjust the salt level and add the sugar, if using. Continue simmering on low heat until the chicken is fully cooked through and liquid is again reduced, has slightly thickened and somewhat oily. It’s done!

Transfer in a serving bowl and serve with lots of steamed rice. This is distinctly delicious and perfect for rice. It’s truly yummy! :-)

Try this tasty dish. Cook it the way it is presented here and you won’t be disappointed. Another interesting adobo dish, Filipinos should be really proud of. c“,)


  1. As far as I remember since I become a follower of this blog, its been more than a year now. Just wanna greet and congratulate you MR. R and G of your 1st YEAR ANNIVERSARY of untiring effort in writing, blogging and posting issues particularly on foods.
    We will expect more to come.... CHEERS........

  2. Happy 1st Year Anniversary to R and G.
    Congratulations. More blogs to come.

  3. Thanks Kristofer and Anonymous, I totally missed that it has been a year since I started this blog. Thank you...... :-)

  4. WOW, new and nice layout, better to read at with bigger fonts. Good start for another year of excellent posts. A toast for R n G anniversary. More more more....

  5. thank you anonymous....keep visiting and reading :-)

  6. I love turmeric and I love chicken adobo even more. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Where to buy fresh turmeric in the philippines? In quezon city? Thank u! I want to cook this formu dad who has lung cancer.



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