Do you have a meal that reminds you of your childhood? A dish that whenever you eat it, even if it’s not exactly the same, reminds you of home? Filipino Adobo (or just Adobo, as we call it) is one of those dishes for me. Every Filipino household seems to have a different take on this dish, and yet every version is comfort food to me.
Now, we’re not strictly Paleo around here, but we have a lot of friends and family who are. This is kind of an homage to them. I like to cook grain free and soy free at times mostly because they’re so ubiquitous in food today. That, and I love a challenge. 🙂 It just so happens that one of the main ingredients in Adobo is soy sauce. And then there’s the rice. Adobo’s tangy-salty-sweet sauce is best appreciated soaked into a pile of rice. So what does one do when you’re avoiding both soy and rice and having cravings of your childhood? Drown your sorrows in a pile of Kalua Pig (not a half bad idea, actually)?
Or you could just make this Paleo Filipino Adobo because I’ve solved all your problems for you.
When we did the Whole30 I found a lot of recipes that subbed soy sauce for coconut aminos to make dishes Paleo / Whole30 compliant. In fact, I think every recipe I found that made this substitution claimed that coconut aminos tasted eerily similar to or exactly like soy sauce. Well, I’ve got to say, it must have been a looooong time since you Paleo heads have eaten soy sauce because coconut aminos tastes nothing like soy sauce. The only thing they have in common really is that they’re both brown, and even then, they’re not the same shade of brown. Don’t get me wrong, coconut aminos tastes good. It just doesn’t taste like soy sauce. Coconut aminos is sweet and slightly salty (from the added sea salt), but it doesn’t have the same level of salt and umami that soy sauce does.
And that’s what makes this recipe different than all the other coconut-aminos-instead-of-soy-sauce recipes out there – I added the umami back in for you. You’re welcome.
This recipe produces a slightly sweet but tangy Adobo because that’s how we like it around here. You can always adapt it to your specific preferences to make it taste more like home. Add potatoes or carrots…go lighter on the vinegar…I’ve even replaced the water with coconut milk before for a richer sauce. I hear that’s a regional variation, but no one I know personally makes it that way. It’s delicious, though, if you’d like to try it.
Filipino or not, Paleo or not, chicken braised in a tangy-sweet-savory sauce sounds good, no?
And if you do happen to be Filipino and Paleo, I hope I just made your day. Or life. That works, too. 🙂
3 lbs bone in chicken thighs, about 6 pieces, fat trimmed
½ cup coconut aminos
2 tsp fish sauce*
2 tsp porcini mushroom powder*
1-2 tsp salt, to taste
½ cup apple cider vinegar
8-10 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
½ tsp black peppercorns
2 fresh bay leaves (or 3 dried)
1 cup water
Combine the coconut aminos, fish sauce and mushroom powder in a container large enough to hold the chicken. Mix well.
Season the chicken with the salt.
Place the chicken in the marinade container, taking care to submerge as much of the chicken into the liquid as possible.
When ready to cook, drip excess marinade off the chicken and place thighs skin side down in a (room temp) pot or braising pan and turn the heat to medium low. Allow chicken to cook until the skin browns and the fat is rendered, about 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and drain the fat.
Return the chicken to the pan, skin side down. Add the marinade, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and water.
Turn the heat to medium low, cover and braise chicken for 10 minutes.
Flip chicken skin side up and continue braising while lightly covered until cooked through, about 20 minutes more.
Serve over rice or cauliflower rice.
* I use Red Boat fish sauce and dried porcini mushrooms that I ground with my coffee/spice grinder. I've seen porcini mushroom powder available in the spice aisle, but if you do not have access to any, you can substitute more fish sauce.
- Depending on how trimmed our chicken thighs are, they may release a lot of fat. You can skim this off before serving.
- Prefer your chicken skinless? In step 5, heat your pan on medium heat with 1 Tbs oil. Brown chicken on all sides before continuing with the recipe.
- Like your Adobo saucy? Just double the liquid ingredients!