I’ve been feeling extra nostalgic lately so I turned to an old favorite for dinner this week. Chicken Adobo or Chicken Estufao is one of the most well-known dishes on Guam. Filipinos refer to it as Adobo, while the native Chamorro people call it Estufao. There are slight variations depending on who is making it, but it’s a pretty universal dish back home. Adobo, or Estufao, is a chicken dish made by cooking chicken in a mix of soy sauce and vinegar and it’s served over a hot bed of rice. It’s serious comfort food. It was one of the first things I remember learning how to cook…right after I mastered cooking rice in fact.
I remember getting home from school before my mom would be off work and starting the adobo for her. I loved when it was adobo night in our house. It’s remained one of my favorite dishes to this day. Cotey was finally introduced to it last summer, when my parents were out here visiting. My mom made it for us one night and I wasn’t sure how Cotey would like it. It does have a pretty strong vinegary note going on. But luckily, he loved it. He’s since learned how to make it and in fact, makes it even better than I do- which pains me to admit. Give this Guam classic a try next time you’re in the mood for something different!
Chicken Adobo or Estufao
3 lbs chicken thighs
1/2 of an onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups Soy Sauce
3 Cups vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 ear of corn (optional)
1 cup uncooked calrose or jasmine rice
2 cups water
For the rice, you’ll need a small saucepan with a lid. Although not necessary, I like to rinse my rice in a strainer before cooking. Add uncooked rice and water to your saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Once it starts to boil, cover the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. It’s important to leave the lid on while the rice cooks. Cook for about 15 minutes and check to see if rice is nice and fluffy. Remove from heat and let sit until it’s time to eat! (Or you could totally save some effort and use a rice cooker if you have one..whatever is easier!)
While the rice is cooking, place chicken thighs skin down in a large pan. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes to remove some of the fat from the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pan (leave the fat!) and add garlic and onion. Sautée for a few minutes. Add a tablespoon of flour and mix well. This will allow the sauce to eventually thicken. I like my adobo saucy, but not too saucy.
Now you’ll want to add your soy sauce and vinegar as well as the chicken and bay leaves to the pot. Bring the mix to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Leave your adobo to continue cooking for about an hour to an hour and a half.
To serve, place a scoop of rice in a bowl. Add a chicken thigh or two on top and then pour a scoop of the soy sauce and vinegar mix over the chicken and rice. Don’t forget the onions! I love scraping the bottom of the pan for more onions. We also had our adobo with a side of corn. Don’t judge me, but corn totally goes with this dish! It tastes so good when everything is mixed together.
And there you have it! A little authentic taste of Chamorro/Filipino home cooking. If you prefer a more sweet and less vinegary taste, you can add a little bit of sugar to your soy sauce/vinegar mix. You can also add a little salt to taste if you’d like.