Nothing beats a hot meal on a frigid night—especially if you made it yourself (and in under an hour). Since I recently picked up a claypot or sandpot from my local Asian store for only $6.95, and I’ve been dying to try it out, I decided that tonight was the night.
Armed with my cookbook of the week—a glorious tome called Essentials of Asian Cuisine by Corinne Trang—I thumbed through it for the appropriate recipe, and my finger landed on a sexy photo of Adobong Na Manok. While Mexicans eat a stew of meat cooked in wine called Adobo, Adobong, a dish made with vinegar, could be considered the national dish of the Philippines, meaning there are as many varieties of it as there are varieties of curry. Adobong also refers to the technique of cooking with vinegar, which can most likely be traced back to the Spanish, who first colonized these Pacific Islands (just as the Goan dish, Vindaloo, is associated with the Portuguese).
It looked simple enough to make as well as tasty, and the only ingredient I didn’t have in the house was the Chinese Rice Vinegar, which I picked up on my way home. Prep consisted of chopping up some ginger and scallions and smashing the cloves of garlic. I also had to add my own twist with a handful of green chilies, to turn up the dial on the heat. Then after a quick sauté, I threw everything in the pot, covered it up and came back an hour later for a very simple but delicious meal rounded out with some brown rice and some sautéed kale greens. The chicken was incredibly moist and tender and completely infused with the flavors of the other ingredients in the pot. There was also some caramelization that occurred on the bottom of the pot concentrating these flavors even more. And they say it’s supposed to be even better the next day!
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large head of garlic, cloves
2 oz. fresh ginger, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 – 2 lbs. chicken parts (preferable thighs and legs)
1/2 cup coconut vinegar or Chinese Rice Vinegar
1/4 cup Chinese light soy sauce
5 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
2 fresh Bay leaves
5 green chilies (optional)
1) Heat the oil in a large clay or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
2) Stir fry the garlic and ginger until fragrant and golden (about 5 min.)
3) Add the chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, scallions, peppercorns, bay leaves, and 1/4 cup water; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is fork tender and the juices have reduced by half (about an hour).