Coconut Chicken Adobo (Adobo sa Gata)

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coconut chicken adobo

Chicken adobo is a very personal recipe. Everybody has their favorite version of this traditional Filipino comfort food, and everybody’s mom makes the best chicken adobo evoooor. With that said, there are a few things all versions of chicken adobo have or it’s not chicken adobo:

soy sauce
bay leaves
whole black peppercorns

The rest is determined by your taste buds – what cut of chicken you use, what additional spices, etc… all up to you.  Years of experimentation has lead me to add in coconut milk, ginger, spicy vinegar and chili flakes. The coconut milk adds a richness to the gravy that makes it super delicious over rice, and is traditional with Luzon-style adobo. I love chunks of ginger in everything so… there’s that. And if you couldn’t tell by the number of recipes I have so far that contain with the word “spicy” (18/53 right now), I like things spicy, so I use half regular coconut vinegar and half spicy coconut vinegar AND chili flakes.

You know… because, spicy.

My preferred ratio of soy sauce to vinegar is 1:2. I like to use coconut vinegar ’cause that’s what my momma uses. You can use plain white distilled vinegar or rice vinegar if you can’t find coconut vinegar. I don’t recommend using cider vinegar.  For the San Diego locals, you can find coconut vinegar it at Seafood City or 99 Ranch.

As for what cut of chicken to use, anything is fine! Breasts, thighs, wings, drumsticks – it’ll all work, just adjust your cooking time according to the cut. Small drumsticks will cook faster than bone-in thighs. Chicken breast will  cook faster and have a tendency to dry out so take special care not to overcook if you decide to use breasts. I had boneless, skinless thighs at home so that’s what I used.

My last personal touch is the onions – I like my onions on the crunchy side. I like the texture that it adds. You can very well add your onions at the very beginning with the ginger and garlic, or you can add them at the end like me. Do you, boo.

coconut chicken adobo

You’ll need: chicken, coconut milk, black peppercorns, bay leaves, onion, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, soy sauce and vinegar.

coconut chicken adobo

Smash the garlic and remove the peel and julienne the ginger into matchsticks.

coconut chicken adobo

Saute the garlic, ginger and chili flakes in oil. You could also add your onions now or wait to add them at the end so they stay crunchy. Chef’s choice.

coconut chicken adobo

Add in the chicken and brown on both sides.

coconut chicken adobo

Add in the coconut milk, soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves and peppercorns.


coconut chicken adobo

During the last 10 minutes of cooking, throw the sliced onions on top.

coconut chicken adobo

Tada! Serve on top of steamed rice and garnish with green onions. Don’t forget to throw some of the sauce on top of the rice. That’s the bessssst.

Coconut Chicken Adobo (Adobo sa Gata)

makes 4 servings in 35 minutes


2 lbs of chicken pieces (thighs, wings, breasts, etc)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 2″ piece of ginger, julienned
1/4 tsp chili flake
1 head of garlic (about 10 cloves), cloves peeled and smashed
1 14oz can of coconut milk
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup coconut vinegar
1/3 cup spicy coconut vinegar (or just use 2/3 cup of vinegar of your choice, total)
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
1 onion, sliced 1/8″ thick


Saute ginger, smashed garlic and chili flake in oil over medium heat until fragrant, about a minute.

Add in the chicken and brown on both sides.

Add in coconut milk, soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add in onions and simmer another 10 minutes, until chicken is tender and onions have wilted a bit.

Serve over hot rice topped with the sauce from the pot. Garnish with green onions. Devour.


If you decide to use skin-on chicken, I like to throw it under the broiler when it’s finished cooking to crisp up the skin. Try this. It’s delicious.


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  1. […] waffles sit on a bit of savory caramel, infused with cinnamon and star anise, and are topped with chicken adobo, a crispy chicken skin chicharron and a side of bagoong […]

  2. […] Taste it and adjust until it tastes good to you (ain’t that what cooking is all about?).  Chicken adobo is also a great, easy meal; my version uses coconut to add a little richness to the […]

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