SABAW ENTREE #3: ADOBONG PUTI NA MANOK (CHICKEN ADOBO IN WHITE SAUCE)
"Adobong Puti na Manok" translates to White Chicken Adobo. As in Chicken Adobo with white sauce. Not Chicken Adobo by a white guy. That would be Adobong Manok na Puti.
Adobong Manok is regular Chicken Adobo--the dark brown kind made with soy sauce. It is the kind of saucy adobo that my parents made for the kids and the houseguests and the potlucks. The adobo most non-Filipinos are familiar with. But the one my parents made for themselves was different. It was Adobong Puti, using patis (fish sauce) instead of soy sauce, and with more of a glaze than a sabaw. Sometimes, they'd replace the vinegar with calamansi juice too.
I always liked the Adobong Puti better, but also always wish it had more sauce. But too much sauce would water down the glaze and there'd be no slight crisp on the skin that made it such a hit. So, I modified the recipe I was handed down and did the whole best of both worlds thing.
I marinated and roasted the chicken while letting the marinade reduce just a little to thicken up but not disappear entirely. Then I added coconut milk with some red siling labuyo and some additional aromatics to balance out the intense patis, citrus & garlic flavors of the sabaw. Take the chicken out the oven, crisp the skin a little, and reunite it with the marinade, now a coconut-y tangy sauce.
While traveling through the Philippines last year, I chopped it up with OG's and youngbloods alike on their adobo techniques and recipes from their families, from other regions, from famed eateries. I was surprised to hear that they've heard of patis & calamansi adobo and soy sauce and vinegar adobo with coconut milk, but that they had never tried patis/calamansi/coconut milk adobo
So I offered to cook it whenever I got the chance. The first time was in Quezon City, after we had marched and protested all day in celebration of Bonifacio Day. Cooking for a tired and hungry bunch with no sharp knives, one tabletop burner and a small pot was not the business. Having freshly slaughtered meat and calamansi straight off the tree, however, was the business.
Taritz, one of the super OGs with Bayan, is one of the most fearless, determined, and, sometimes, brutally honest organizers I've ever encountered. I held my breath as I watched her eating the dish in silence, never looking up until she was nearly finished.
"This is really good," she said. "This is one of my favorite chicken adobos."
Win. I don't cook for validation but if validation comes from badass people I look up to, I'll never forget it. Especially when tasked with cooking a post-protest dinner. In the Philippines. So if you ever get a chance to eat this dish, know that it was cooked not just with a different set of ingredients, but with the sound of 2,000 militant Filipinos marching and chanting and setting things on fire.