Chicken Adobo Recipe From Kevin Luzande

How to make chicken adobo

The first thing Kevin Luzande remembers making as a child was strawberry ice cream. "I put strawberries, milk and ice in the blender," he recalls. "It didn't look pink enough." So Luzande did what any reasonable tot might: He added ketchup.

The chef de cuisine at Los Angeles' Playa has since expanded his repertoire, thanks in part to culinary school and stints at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, David Burke's restaurant at the Venetian in Las Vegas, and Playa's sister restaurant, Rivera. But when he's cooking for himself, he returns to the Filipino classics he grew up eating, recipes perfected by his grandmother and shared with him. Chicken adobo is one example, a comforting braise flavored with soy and oyster sauces and a glug of vinegar. It's a worthy one-pot meal to add to your collection, and far more delicious than Luzande's childhood rendition of strawberry ice cream.

Recipe adapted from Kevin Luzande, Playa, Los Angeles

Chicken Adobo
5 from 32 ratings
Chicken adobe from Playa chef de cuisine Kevin Luzande.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Chicken legs and/or thighs, 3½ pounds
  • Sea salt, 1 tablespoon      
  • Freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon 
  • Grapeseed oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Large yellow onion, 1 (coarsely chopped)
  • Garlic cloves, 10 (finely chopped)      
  • Ginger root, 2-inch piece (peeled with the edge of a teaspoon and finely chopped) 
  • Ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon
  • Chicken broth, 4 cups       
  • Dried bay leaves, 2
  • Light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon         
  • Oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons
  • Dark soy sauce, ¼ cup
  • Cane vinegar, ½ cup
  • Chives, 1 small bunch (finely chopped)
  • Steamed long-grain white rice, for serving
Optional Ingredients
  • Sweet red chile, 1, (seeded and thinly sliced)--optional
  • Edible flowers--optional
  1. On a cutting board, place the chicken legs and/or thighs. Season with the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. In a medium pot set over medium heat, add the grapeseed oil. Heat the oil until it shimmers, about 2 minutes, then add the seasoned chicken skin-side down. Cook until the chicken is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Use the tongs to turn the chicken pieces over and brown the other side, about 10 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot and return the pot to the heat. Add the chopped yellow onion. Cook, using the wooden spoon to stir the onion often, until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, chopped ginger and ground cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Return the browned chicken to the pot along with the chicken broth, bay leaves, brown sugar, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and cane vinegar. Bring the liquid to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Use the slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the broth to a simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally with the whisk, until the liquid is reduced by three-quarters and is the consistency of gravy, about 20 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and ladle the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with chopped chives, sweet red chile rings (optional) and edible flowers (optional). Serve with cooked rice.
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