Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chicken Adobo cum Paksiw (Chicken Braised in Vinegar & Sugar)

The adobo fever is still on! Using the same technique employed in preparing the well received “adobong puti”; I decided to try its version using chicken. As we all know, next to pork, chicken is probably the closest contender for the throne of best-ever adobo. In fact, the combination of the two is extremely popular on its own. While this variant is not really new to me as I have been served before with a wonderful chicken adobo that is simply braised in vinegar and salt and cooked in its own juice (alone) until fork tender; that is, without the addition of water. So, we are speaking of a type of adobo with no soy sauce and not aided with any liquid, water or broth, while it tenderize.

With such a limiting requirement you can imagine that this is only good for easy to tenderize meat, hence the use of the chicken. With its relatively tender meat which requires shorter period of cooking, we can be sure to have a fully done dish even by just braising. In addition to “adobong manok sa dilaw”, this is another alternative to uniquely enjoy the tasty chicken in the form of the well-loved Filipino adobo. Call it daring or peculiar but this simply titillates my palates and therefore will be a regular fare in my diet.

You probably noticed that I included the words “cum Paksiw” in the title. Like “adobong puti” this chicken adobo uses almost the same ingredients as the “paksiw na pata” and therefore the resulting dish is expected to have a very strong resemblance with one another, in taste and in depth. Although as I said before, the obvious difference is that the dish is intended to be cooked until somewhat dry or “iga” and served coated with a rather oily residual liquid instead of a rich and thick sauce. Having said that, I believe “chicken adobo cum paksiw” is such a fitting name to this dish.

While using a whole chicken with all its parts would also be good for the dish in terms of varied flavors, I am currently constrained to only using my favorite choice cut – the mighty chicken legs composed of thighs and drumsticks ……. also flavorful, can really be succulent and naturally juicy. Not really your diet stuff though but since this is adobo ……… it’s perfect and so please don’t cringe on this.

To prepare the dish, about 1.2 kilogram or 2.5 lbs, chicken legs, cut up to serving sizes, washed several times and then thoroughly drained is our lead character.

The supporting casts comprise of: 8 gloves garlic, peeled and crushed, 1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped, 2 pcs “laurel” or bay leaves, 1 tsp whole peppercorn, half to be cracked, 2 tsp iodized salt or to taste, 2-3 tsp white sugar or to taste and ¾ cup natural vinegar (please adjust according to the level of acidity of the type you are using). Additionally, we need about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil.

In a large heavy pan or wok, heat the oil and fry garlic until it is slightly browned. Add in onions and cook until it is translucent. Add in chicken pieces and continue sautéing until the meat renders its own liquid and fat.

Continue braising on medium heat until the meat is partially cooked, the liquid basically dried up and the meat sizzled in its own fat releasing a fragrant smell.

Add in bay leaves, whole peppercorn, cracked pepper, salt, white sugar and vinegar. Do not stir until it is briskly boiling. Lower the heat and continue cooking with the lid on. When the meat is just tender, adjust the seasoning and level of vinegar. Continue cooking until the sauce is reduced, somewhat oily and chicken is fork tender. You can skim off some of the oil if it’s rather too much, otherwise leave as it is. It’s sparklingly full of flavors.

Transfer in serving platters. Serve warm with lots of steamed rice. Like most adobo, you can accompany it with some chopped tomatoes or pickled green papaya (“atchara”) for complementary tastes.

There it is……… a version of chicken adobo with a hint of the sourly “paksiw”! It is another distinctly tasty variation worthy to be added to the long directory of the Filipino “adobo”. Try it and enjoy! c”,)

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