Connections

6 Dec

I love learning how to cook from my mother, especially those Filipino dishes that are best when passed down and around among family. But because I decided to start my culinary journey kind of late, after I had moved out of my parents house, I have to look to sources outside of my family for teaching and inspiration.

That’s where some of the beauty of social media lies. I’m easily connected to a network of people, some I’ve met and some I haven’t, all of whom have something interesting to say, including topics like Filipino cuisine. The number of Filipinos with food and cooking blogs is actually way bigger than I thought, so my world of recipes has opened ten-fold in just the past few years in which I started cooking. And when looking for a standard Filipino recipe, one that happens to be widely considered as the national dish of the Philippines, I had no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t be searching for long.

Another huge advantage of tapping into social media? Meeting people. As in real life (or IRL if you want to use internet-speak). I’ve managed to meet several fellow young Filipino-Americans within the past few months, thanks to Twitter and with a little help from Facebook and emails. My community has expanded. Really, who doesn’t love making new friends, especially ones whom you can relate to on a cultural level?

Several of these folks, including Cecile of Dance DC and Sheridan of Barkless Vegetables, decided to get together for a Filipino food potluck one Sunday night. You know, for the hell of it. Seriously, Filipinos love to eat and talk, maybe even both at the same time, so we think of any reason possible to get together and do just that. I kind of freaked out slightly because I hadn’t really made anything Filipino on my own (that apritada doesn’t count, my mom was teaching me the whole time). So I figured I’d go with the easiest recipe I could think of, chicken adobo. And oh so conveniently, food blogger (and Filipino) Angela of I Flip for Food had covered it.

Personally, I like chicken adobo, but you can certainly make this with pork, or both. The taste is generally recognizable no matter who makes it or how much tweaking there is to the recipe, so it makes sense that it’s the national dish. Some people like to crush the peppercorns, others like them whole, it all depends on how peppery your tastes are and whether you don’t mind biting into them or picking them out. Some people like certain measurements of ingredients tweaked. Essentially, the ones below are the foundation of the dish, adjustments are to your own tastes.

I think everyone at the potluck enjoyed my adobo – I didn’t have leftovers to take home so that was definitely a good sign! I’m already looking forward to the next potluck, one with a different array of dishes, and hopefully a few new faces as well.

Chicken Adobo (from I Flip for Food, who got it from Marvin of Burnt Lumpia)

Ingredients

▪ 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

▪ 1 tbsp vegetable oil

▪ 6 garlic cloves, minced

▪ 1/3 cup soy sauce

▪ 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar

▪ 2 tsp whole black peppercorns

▪ 2 bay leaves

Rice, for serving with

Directions

[I probably could’ve been a bit smoother in the preparation of this dish, but I included my missteps anyways just to provide some general lessons in cooking.]

In a pot or saucepan, heat the oil on medium-high heatand brown the chicken in batches, about 5 minutes per side. (Try to wait to put the chicken in until it’s reached close to room temperature, to avoid hot oil splattering all over the place. Yikes!)

After browning the chicken, remove them from the pot and cover with foil. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of the oil/chicken drippings and remove the rest. Sautee the garlic in this over medium heat for 1 minute (try not to let it burn, like I did). Add the soy sauce and vinegar and deglaze the pot, scraping the leftover brown bits from the bottom. Then add the peppercorns, bay leaves and chicken, including any drippings. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Then, remove the cover and continue to simmer for 15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Serve with rice (and any other dishes if you’re at a potluck too!)

[Here’s a shot of our smorgasboard of Filipino delciousness. There was kare-kare, pancit, lechon, menudo and callos (I think).]

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