This is a recipe my aunt and uncle taught me as a kid, which I believe they learned when in the Peace Corps in the Philippines, though I think my dad made it for me and my brothers long before that. We used to ask him to make this dish all the time. It’s sweet, salty and sour and gingery. Great on basmati rice, or pancit, but I like making a kind of Circassian rice.
I’ve spoken to a few people who’ve been checking up on Papaya Thief, and the consenses is that I need to post more recipes. And they don’t have to be as complicated as the octopus. So this one is super easy.
It’s good for summer, it’s good for winter. It keeps well for a few days in the fridge and makes an easy lunch.
When I prepare this at the restaurant I use whole chickens. Break them down, use the breasts in empanadillas, save the wings for a spicy Thai barbecue, the thighs for this adobo. I make a stock with the bones, mirepoix, herbs and spices. The stock is then used to cook the Circassian rice, and for the cooking liquid. However, if you’re scared or short on time or just lazy, water will work just fine.
4 to 6 chicken thighs, skin on
1 cup chicken stock or water
1/2 to 1 cups soy sauce (preferably kikkoman)
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
4 bay leaves
8 cloves garlic thinly sliced
2 big thumb-sized chunks of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Good pinch of fresh ground pepper
Put everything in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring just up to a boil, turn immediately down to a simmer, let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, whenever the meat and sinew begin to separate from the bone. At this point I let it sit until I’m ready to serve. It’s not really cooking anymore, but the meat continues to get more tender.
When you’re ready to serve get a pan smoking hot with a bit of olive oil and sear the thighs skin side down to get it nice and crispy. Serve on a bed of rice with a ladle of the braising liquid and garnish with some green onions.