Chicken Adobo with Tomatoes

Holy Lea Salonga, what have I been missing all my life?!?!

I’ll keep it short and sweet. This dish that I prepared – this tomato chicken adobo – is among the tastiest dishes that I have ever concocted for this blog. It is sour. It is salty. It is savory, and it is spicy. And it is…

incredibly easy and healthy.

Of course, if you want to be authentic, you have to make it with skin on, bone in chicken thighs or fatty, luscious pork butt.

But I have no desire to be authentic. I have a desire to be cheap, so I used what was on sale.

Chicken Adobo with Tomatoes


1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/3 cup tomato juice

1 can whole peeled tomatoes (not the juice)

3 tbsp. cracked black pepper

3 bay leaves

2 tbsp. sambal olek

1/3 cup flour

1 onion, sliced into rings

1/3 cup sugar

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

3 bay leaves

2 tps. veggie oil

1. Flour the chicken. Meanwhile, heat the oil over very high heat in a large stockpot until it smokes and waves.

2. Drop the chicken in, and let it sear on each side for about 4 minutes, or until it develops a golden brown crust.

3. Now throw all the other ingredients in there, turn the heat down to low/medium low,  cover the pot, and walk away for an hour. Yes, that’s it. No, don’t even bother to taste now. Give it a stir, cover it, and walk away.

3. When the chicken is tender and shreds easily with a fork, remove it from the pot. Now, take the lid off the pot, turn up the heat to medium, and let it simmer for 20 minutes more, or until it has reduced or thickened.

4. When the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, remove the bay leaves, taste it for seasonings, and if you can resist long enough to tear yourself away from the pot…

5. Serve, with the chicken added back in, with rice.

Of course, I couldn’t resist long enough to turn away from the pot and take a proper photo. I really couldn’t even make any rice. I stood there  over the pot, eating away. The tart-tangy-spicy-savory sauce. The delightfully squishy tomatoes. Those sweet onions and those soft cloves of garlic that have grown mellow. The at juicy chicken, rich and flavorful with the aromatic bay and spice of the sambal olek. That sauce. Oh, that sauce that I could drink with a straw and sop up with my finger.

That I did, in fact, sop up with my finger.

So sorry there isn’t a beauty shot of the food here. But this is so fabulously Chinese-Thai-Indian delicious (the only way to describe this to those who have yet to discover the wonders of ‘Filipino food), that there is only one person who can really vouch for it.

Lea Salonga grew up eating adobo.  She loves it. You are gonna love it, too.