Adobo is simple—just aromatics, soy sauce, vinegar, and chicken, meat, or seafood. But no recipe is the same, and there are no adobo dishes that are exactly alike. It also differs each time you make it, based on preference, or just how sour you want it that day. Even more so, adobo differs tremendously depending on where you're from.
In Batangas, the local version is adobo sa dilaw, a variation of the dish that uses turmeric (or luyang dilaw). That gives it its signature yellow hue and a slightly tangy, peppery flavor. Sheillah Guerra, a Batangueña, taught us how to make her pamana adobo sa dilaw. A self-confessed "lola's girl," Sheillah shared memories of being in the kitchen with her grandmother, who taught her the recipe step-by-step. Nowadays, this pamana is one that's still enjoyed by her family during gatherings; and she still occasionally makes it for her home.
For Sheillah, what makes adobo sa dilaw unique is its simplicity, which is true with most dishes from Batangas. Methods are easy, and flavors are uncomplicated. Plus, with the regions vast resources, locals are afforded a variety of native ingredients that make their delicacies truly theirs.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 600g chicken, cut into pieces
- 1-inch piece fresh turmeric (luyang dilaw), peeled and julienned
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 to 1 ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp patis Balayan (fish sauce)
- ½ cup vinegar or more, to taste
- ½ cup water
- salt, to taste
- siling pansigang (optional)
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
In a saucepan, sauté onion and garlic. Cook until the onion begins to soften.
Add the turmeric and stir. Add chicken and cook until browned, about 4 mins.
Add in the patis, then add the vinegar, water, peppercorns, and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and continue cooking for 10 mins or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the sili pansigang, if using.
Remove from heat and transfer on a plate. Serve hot with steamed rice.