Adobong Manok is a much-loved Filipino dish of chicken braised in soy, garlic and bay leaf. The chicken is tender, moist and flavorful with crispy skin and plenty of sauce. Always good with plenty of steamed white rice.
- 8 to 12 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin (about 5 lbs or 2.3 kg)
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) soy sauce
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) MSG*
- 3 tablespoons (38 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (9 g) garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon (9 g) onion powder
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) black pepper
- 1 teaspoon (1.8 g) crushed red pepper
- 1 large head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- 5 or 6 whole bay leaves
- 2 scallions, chopped
*I use MSG because it really boosts flavor in savory foods. But if you do not like to use MSG, it can be omitted.
1. Preheat the oven and prepare the baking pan.
– Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C) and place the oven rack in the middle position.
– Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine the ingredients for the braise and pour over the chicken.
– Place the chicken pieces in the pan in a single layer, skin side up.
– In a large measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, MSG, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and crushed red pepper.
– Pour over the chicken.
– Sprinkle the garlic cloves and bay leaves evenly around the pan.
3. Braise the chicken in the oven.
– Cover the chicken loosely with foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
– Cook the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes.
– Remove the foil and cook for 15 to 30 more minutes, or until the skin is browned and crispy and the chicken is starting to come off the bone.
– The chicken is done if its juices run clear when poked with a knife.
4. Serve with plenty of steamed white rice.
– Garnish with scallions and serve with plenty of steamed white rice.
- Try searing the scallions in a hot pan with a little oil to bring out their sweetness.
About this recipe
Anyone even remotely aware of Filipino food knows Adobong Manok. This super-flavorful preparation involves braising the chicken in soy sauce and vinegar (I use lemon juice), lots of garlic, and bay leaves. It is a family favorite.
There are so many, many ways to prepare Adobong Manok. Everyone’s recipe is different. And honestly, I have never met an Adobong Manok I didn’t love.
I learned as a child to cook this dish stove-top. But since, I have adapted to braise our Adobong Manok in the oven. This method for me ensures the chicken will be tender and moist while at the same time making the chicken skin nice and crispy. There will be plenty of sauce, too.
Here are 3 helpful tips:
1) Do not reduce the sauce.
There are so many ways to prepare adobo. Everyone’s recipe is different. Some people like a lot of sauce, while others prefer their sauce to be reduced to a glaze. The sauce in this variation is already very flavorful and should not be reduced or else it will be too strong and salty.
- If the sauce does become too strong, just dilute it with a bit of water.
2) Adjust cooking times, if needed.
If you are cooking with smaller chicken pieces like drumsticks or wings, you may need to lessen the amount of cooking time. When checking for doneness, the chicken is done when the meat looks like it is starting to come off the bone and the juices run clear when poked with a knife.
3) Adjust seasoning to your personal taste.
- I use MSG in my cooking because it enhances umami flavor in foods, making savory dishes even more delicious. Of course, you can always skip it if you don’t like using MSG.
- I use lemon juice in my adobo, but the traditional ingredient to use is vinegar. Which to use is a matter of taste or preference. Both are delicious.
- The black pepper and crushed red pepper can be increased or decreased to your liking. The amount in my recipe gives only a mild amount of heat.
Serve Adobong Manok with plenty of Steamed White Rice!
Other Filipino Dishes….