Crispy Chicken Thighs with Adobo sa Gata Gravy

Crispy chicken thighs meet adobo sa gata prepared like a velvety, coconut-rich pan gravy.
2–4 servings
Prep Time
05 Mins
Active Time
30 Mins

Adobo doesn’t always have to be a stew. In this recipe, it takes the form of a rich, garlicky coconut gravy—like a reduced adobo sa gatato go over crispy chicken thighs.

What is Adobo?
Adobo refers to the Filipino dish and cooking technique where ingredients are braised in vinegar with salt (usually soy sauce), garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Almost anything can be adobo: meat, fish, seafood, vegetables. You’ll find endless variations on adobo across the Philippines, each with their own unique flavors, ingredients, spices, and textures.

Start by slowly rendering chicken thighs in a pan, skin side down, until golden and crackly. Build a pan gravy with the leftover chicken fat: use it to cook aromatics until fragrant, then simmer with soy sauce, garlic, and coconut milk.

Match the coconut milk in the gravy with coconut vinegar, if you have it. Though pricier than your usual adobo-making vinegar, it adds a sweet, fragrant note to the final sauce.


  • 6 boneless, skin-on chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup coconut or white vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut cream
  • 1 green chili, chopped (optional)
  • chopped green onions, for garnish

Cook chicken thighs: Heat up neutral oil in a ceramic or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Lay chicken fillets skin side down, making sure not to overcrowd the pan—work in batches if necessary. Let chicken cook untouched until skin starts to crisp up and fat has rendered out, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking until chicken skin is golden brown and crispy. Flip and cook the second side, another 4–6 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.


Make adobo sa gata sauce: Using the same pan, reduce heat to medium and add black peppercorns in the rendered chicken fat. Toast peppercorns for 3 minutes. Add minced onion and garlic, then sauté until translucent and fragrant. Add coconut milk, vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Simmer liquid until thickened and coconut oil starts to separate, about 7–8 minutes. Finish with coconut cream and green chili (if using). Stir until the sauce is creamy and velvety.


Serve: Slice crispy chicken thighs into strips. Transfer sliced chicken on top or on the side of steamed rice. Spoon adobo sa gata sauce on top of the chicken. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve hot.

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