Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk

Adapted from Milk Street

  • My adaptation of this recipe addresses the following problems:
    • Vinegar to soy sauce ratio is off: Milk Street uses double the amount of vinegar to soy sauce, which creates an imbalanced, harsh vinegar flavor. I use equal parts.
    • The large quantity (2 1/4 cups total) of vinegar and soy sauce used is unnecessary as much of this gets discarded in their recipe. It also dilutes the flavor of the juice that is released form the chicken during cooking. I use 1 cup total.

  • 1½ cups unseasoned rice vinegar (I use 1/2 cup rice or apple cider vinegar)
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce or GF Tamari sauce (I use 1/2 cup)
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 serrano chilies, halved lengthwise
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs (3 to 3½ pounds) (I pull off the skin and skip the browning step below)
  • 1 cup full fat, unsweetened coconut milk (I use 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Steamed white rice, to serve

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, chilies, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
  2. Add the chicken thighs, submerging them. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. (I FIND THIS TO BE A COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY STEP).
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium-low and cook, turning thighs occasionally, until the chicken registers 170ºF, 25 to 30 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a medium simmer. (I COVER THE POT AND SIMMER FOR 40 MINUTES).
  4. Heat the broiler with an oven rack 6 inches from the element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Remove the chicken thighs from the pot and arrange skin side up on baking sheet. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside. (I SKIP THIS STEP SINCE I REMOVE THE SKIN).
  5. Strain the cooking liquid, discarding the solids, then skim off the fat (IF YOU REMOVE THE SKIN, THERE WON’T BE FAT TO REMOVE).
  6. Return 1 cup of the defatted liquid to the pot. ( I RETURN 2 CUPS OF THE LIQUID BACK TO THE POT – I LIKE IT BROTHY).
  7. Stir in 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (I ADD 2 CUPS COCONUT MILK).
  8. Remove from heat, stir in the cilantro, then cover and set aside.
  9. Broil the chicken until the skin is deeply browned and blackened in spots, 3 to 8 minutes. (I SKIP THIS STEP).
  10. Serve in shallow bowls with steamed white rice. Ladle the broth over top.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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