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Pasilla-Guajillo Adobo Recipe

Pasilla-Guajillo Adobo Recipe

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Introducing a second chile into the mix takes just a few extra minutes, but rewards you by providing a well-rounded, sophisticated flavor. Perhaps you’ll do what my mom does, peeking into the cupboard, grabbing a few bags of whatever chiles you’ve had around for a while, and whipping up something incredible.

Click here to see the Grilled Adobo-Marinated Skirt Steak recipe.


  • 2 ounces pasilla chiles (about 6 chiles), stemmed, deseeded, and deveined
  • 2 ounces guajillo chiles (about 8 chiles), stemmed, deseeded, and deveined
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup light Mexican beer
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 whole cloves


Heat a comal, griddle, or heavy skillet over medium-low heat, and toast the chiles 2 or 3 at a time, turning them over and pressing down on them with tongs frequently, until the chiles are fragrant, about 1 minute per batch. Soak the chiles in enough cold water to cover until they’re soft, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking water.

Put the vinegar and beer in the blender jar with the chiles and the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, at least 3 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to puree. If you like a silky, smooth texture, strain the adobo through a medium-mesh sieve.

Now you can use this highly flavored purée as a marinade for seafood and meat. Or turn it into a fabulous cooking liquid or sauce for eggs, beans, and enchiladas.

This adobo keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to one month.

Filipino Chicken Adobo (Flavour Kapow!)

Filipino Chicken Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines and may well become your new favourite Asian chicken dish! Just a few everyday ingredients I can practically guarantee you already have, it’s an effortless recipe that yields juicy, tender chicken coated in a sweet savoury glaze with little pops of heat from peppercorns.

This is a chicken thigh recipe and it MUST be made with thighs – no substituting with chicken breast!

Peruvian Pork Loin Adobo Recipe

The south of Peru is our destination for this delicious Peruvian pork adobo recipe. The key to adobo is the marination process which infuses the meat in this pork stew with tons of flavor. Apart from the marination time (overnight) this recipe won’t take more than an hour to prepare. Slow cookers are often used to prepare adobo but we’re using more tender cuts of meat so we can significantly cut down on cooking time.

In this recipe, the meat we’re using is pork loin instead of pork shoulder. I prefer the fattier, juicier shoulder cut of the pig but it’s not suited to everyone’s taste. Plus it takes longer to cook. Not to mention the fact that the shoulder is often more economical pork cut than the loin.

Sometimes it’s nice to mix things up, so here’s our easy-to-prepare, lower-fat, loin adobo recipe based on the traditional Peruvian version. For budding cooks that might want to keep the fat content down, loin is a better choice.

We’ve also omitted the chicha (chicha de jora), a fermented corn juice that the traditional version of the recipes typically uses. Chicha is hard to find and we wanted to develop a recipe that anyone can make without having to search high and low for a particular ingredient. Red wine vinegar is a good substitute. For convenience, you can also use panca paste instead of the aji panca chilli.

This delectable, colorful, savory dish’s deep red/brown tint looks great with a starchy accompaniment. Match it with steamed white rice for the perfectly contrasted side. You can also use potatoes (as with almost every Peruvian dish) or sweet potatoes.

How to Make Adobo Sauce &ndash the Recipe Method

First, remove the stems from the guajillo and ancho peppers and remove the seeds. You may need to cut into the peppers for this, which is fine.

Heat a large pan to medium heat and dry toast the dried peppers a couple minutes per side. They will become more pliable and slightly puff up. When you dry toast them in a skillet over medium heat or medium-high heat, it helps to release the oils from the pods for more flavor.

Place the dried chiles in a large bowl and cover with very hot or boiling water. Soak them for 15 minutes, or until they become very soft and rehydrate. They could take 20 minutes to 30 minutes to get very soft. Transfer the softened peppers to a food processor, but reserve the soaking liquid.

While the peppers are softening, cook down the other ingredients. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan and add the onion. Cook it down for 4-5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until you it becomes fragrant.

Add the tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, sugar and salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then stir in 1/2 cup water. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the mixture to a food processor along with the softened peppers and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh water, or you can use the dark liquid from soaking the peppers. Process until smooth.

Adjust with salt and sugar to taste, and with a bit more water until you achieve your desired consistency. Strain if you&rsquod like a thinner sauce, or use as-is.

Makes about 2 cups of adobo sauce.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It should last about a month this way.

Boom! All set! Adobo sauce is pretty easy to make, isn&rsquot it? I love this sauce. I keep versions of this in the refrigerator most times through the year so I can easily whip up flavorful recipes in a snap. So great to have around.

Tips and Tricks For Making This Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe

Be confident in making changes

I find that this chicken adobo recipe is really quite forgiving. Even though the recipe does call for chicken thighs as the main chicken pieces to use for meat, you can try to use chicken breasts or chicken legs, or other cuts of chicken as well. It might change the Filipino aspect of this chicken recipe but the flavor will still be the same. You can cook chicken up easily and use it however you see fit. (just be certain to marinate the chicken with all the other listed ingredients!)

Vary up the meat that you use

Changing the meat will not make this an authentic Filipino dish but it will give it a lot of great flavors. You can try to make this with pork belly or other meat options. Pork Adobo is a thing, too! The fat content and time to cook will change depending on how you change up the ingredients.

What side dishes pair well with this Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe?

This Filipino Chicken Adobo is pretty much a great meal in itself but you can always add white rice or a nice side salad to the dish. (You can also use your Instant Pot to cook up your rice to save on time, too!)

Is Adobo Chicken a sweet or a spicy dish?

Let’s just say that this is one of those recipes that can be a bit of both if you want it to be. The original flavor of this adobo chicken isn’t sweet or spicy but if you add in a bit of heat or a sprinkle of brown sugar, you can easily change up the flavor fast.

If you’re looking for a fast and simple dish that takes minimal cook time, check out this low-fat Filipino recipe that will have you loving every single bite.

Topping Ideas for Filipino Chicken Adobo

You can easily add so many toppings to this adobo chicken dish! I’m thinking that cooked chicken thighs go perfectly with freshly ground black pepper, soy sauce, extra cloves garlic, fresh cilantro, and even a little dash of hot sauce as well.

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Adobo is a Spanish word for “sauce” or “marinade.” This version—a chile marinade containing a blend of ancho, pasilla negro, and guajillo chiles, as well as onion, garlic, fresh pineapple, vinegar, and lime juice—is traditionally paired with Tacos al Pastor (pork), but is also excellent with grilled or smoked chicken or beef.

What to buy: Chile negro (also called a pasilla chile or pasilla negro) is the dried version of the chilaca chile. It can be purchased at most Mexican grocers or online. Note that ancho chiles are often mislabeled as pasillas. If you cannot find chile negro, you can use ancho chiles or mulato chiles instead.

Mexican oregano (a relative of lemon verbena) can be found in Latin markets or the Latin section of your supermarket.

Game plan: If you can, prepare the marinade the day before. Coat the meat in it and refrigerate overnight. If you are pinched for time, you can marinate the meat for less time, but no less than 4 hours.

This recipe was featured as part of our No-Fail Mexican Favorites for Cinco de Mayo. See also our chimichurri sauce recipe for an argentine twist on grilled classics.

Tips for Cooking With Adobo

When using an adobo, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, it is important to wait to add salt until just before cooking the meat since it will draw out the juices. You also want to use a glass or ceramic bowl or dish to avoid a reaction between the adobo and the container. Plastic containers can be used, but are not recommended because the plastic will absorb the color and flavors of the spices. And be sure to refrigerate the meat or fish while marinating to avoid spoilage and discard any leftover adobo in which raw meat was marinated.

The adobo recipes differ depending on what you are marinating, whether it be pork and red meat, chicken, or game birds. Remember, use the quantities given for spices as a guide and feel free to adjust them to your taste.

What meats can you use to make Filipino adobo?

This recipe uses pork shoulder, also labeled as pork butt or Boston butt. Pork adobo is traditionally made with fatty pork belly, or a combination of pork belly and chicken.

Pork shoulder is great for braised dishes like adobo. It has enough fat to make the dish tasty, but not as overwhelming as pork belly.

Pork shoulder benefits from long cooking, producing a flavorful pull-apart tender meat.

Asides from pork, adobo can also be made with the following proteins:

Adobo Ingredients

Other variations of adobo contain one or more of the following: coconut milk, onions, sugar, tomatoes, jalapeño or other chili peppers.

Soy Sauce & Vinegar Options For Adobo

Made this recipe with a variety of different soy sauces and vinegar.

For the most authentic flavor, use Filipino soy sauce and vinegar. Silver Swan and Datu Puti are very popular brands.

SOY SAUCE: However, you may also use the standard soy sauces and vinegars found in American supermarkets. I have made this recipe several times using Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce and regular Kikkoman Soy Sauce.

VINEGAR: Filipino coconut sap vinegar would be the most delicious option, but may be difficult to find in the United States.

Almost any vinegar will work in this recipe: distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar.

Stay away from balsamic vinegar, champagne vinegar, red wine vinegar, and rice vinegar. These vinegars do not have the bright acidity that makes adobo delicious.

Recipe Summary

  • 6 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 dried cascabel chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 8 cups water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 3 dried bay leaves

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Add chiles to skillet cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chiles to a large saucepan add onion, garlic, ginger, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chiles are softened, about 8 minutes. Drain chile mixture discard cooking liquid.

Combine chile mixture, vinegar, salt, black pepper, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, thyme, bay leaves, and remaining 2 cups water in a blender. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 45 seconds. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and chill until ready to use.

What is Mexican Oregano?

Mexican oregano has a very different flavor than mediterranean oregano. "Regular" or mediterranean oregano has a slight minty undertone whereas Mexican oregano is more earthy and cirtusy. Marjoram is a closer substitute for Mexican oregano than "regular" oregano is.

I get Mexican oregano at my local Mexican market, but you can also find it on Amazon. Then again, if all you have is "regular" oregano, go ahead and use that. It certainly won't make or break this recipe.

Chicken Adobo

Adobo refers to a common and very popular cooking process indigenous here in the Philippines. The most famous of all here in the Philippines is the chicken adobo.

According to the history (reference: research only),when Spanish colonizers first took over the Philippines in late 1500s and early 1600s, they encountered an indigenous cooking process which involved stewing with vinegar. Spanish called or identify this as an “adobo,” the Spanish word for seasoning or marinade. Thus, giving way to the famous Chicken Adobo.

All dishes prepared in this manner eventually came to be known by this name, with the original term for the dish now lost to history.

Thus, the adobo dish and cooking process in Filipino cuisine and the general description “adobo” in Spanish cuisine share similar characteristics, but in fact refer to different things with different cultural roots. While Philippine adobo can be considered adobo – a marinated dish – in the Spanish sense, the Philippine usage is much more specific.

Chicken Adobo Recipe


  • 2 lb chicken pieces, cut up or whole
  • 1 head of garlic, coarsely chopped (yes, an entire head!)
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (rice vinegar or white wine vinegar work best)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Put vinegar, bay leaves, pepper, soy sauce, and water in a saucepan. Cover and cook slowly about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the cooking oil in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Peel the garlic, break the cloves into chunks, and brown them over medium-low heat (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the chicken to the frypan and brown it over medium-high heat (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the broth to the frypan and simmer, partly covered, until the chicken is done (about 30 minutes). Do not let it come to a boil.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.

You can substitute pork for the chicken, or mix the two. Here in the Philippines, it is the custom to marinade the meat for two days rather before simmering.

To marinate the chicken, mix in the broth and 3 of the garlic cloves after step 1, then put the chicken in a glass dish and pour the marinade over it.

Adobo is the most unique national dish of the Philippines. Most warm-weather countries have through the centuries developed recipes that preserve food while flavoring it. This dish is different than many because of its strong component of vinegar. It is at once sour, salty, and drenched in garlic.

Thus, the recipe is very well known in many countries. This Filipino recipe of chicken adobo is just the very basic and simple step. As time goes by, many varieties, ingredients and style are being added to the original recipe to add some flavor.

Looking for other Lutong Pinoy Recipes to try on? Feel free to check out our pork recipes, chicken recipes and desserts.

Watch the video: How To Make Adobo Sauce with Dried Chipotle Peppers, Dried Guajillo Chiles and Dried Ancho Chiles


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