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Jilly’s Chicken Adobo
July 18, 2011, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Cook, Drink | Tags: , , , ,

In 2008, we had a rotating potluck going and it was Jilly’s turn to cook the main. I’d been craving Filipino food so I requested that she make chicken adobo because all Filipinos know how to make amazing chicken adobo, right? Riiight. All Filipinos know how to make amazing chicken adobo just like all Japanese are ninjas. That first stab at chicken adobo? Let’s just say it was… less than successful. Blame it on the fact that she used boneless skinless chicken breasts, or that she used full sodium soy sauce, or that she hadn’t yet learned what brining was. One diner actually asked, “Is this beef?”

Then one day, she posted this picture, and I knew she’d finally figured it out:

Two years, it took, but she finally perfected the recipe and when I begged her to let me try the new and improved version of her chicken adobo, she had me over for dinner. As I walked into the apartment, the aroma of garlic and ginger wafting through the air, the sound of the chicken sizzling in the pan, and the sight of my lovely hostess smiling at me… it all had me a little weak in the knees.

You’ve come a long way, baby.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken legs (drumstick/thigh combos), brined overnight in solution of 1/4 cup salt + 1 gallon of water
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • Coconut oil OR canola oil to fry chicken
Preparation (as written by Jilly)
  1. After brining chicken for 24 hours, remove and let sit in a bowl for 1 hour (to let the water soak into the chicken and away from the skin…we want crispy skin!)
  2. Marinate chicken for 1 hour in all of the above ingredients (minus the brine, of course) in a large pot
  3. Begin cooking; let simmer and stir regularly until chicken appears cooked, opaque and white. Turn off heat.
  4. Have a frying pan ready with oil, preheated till oil is shimmering (supa dupa hot)
  5. Begin frying chicken in batches as pan allows–this will be messy, but worth it! If possible, a brave soul with long arms (and long sleeves) should be the one doing this step
    • Fry till crispy, golden, and brown.
    • As each piece is perfectly fried, put it back into the pot with the soy/vinegar/garlic mixture
  6. When done frying, cook the chicken back up in the soy mixture, and simmer until mixture is thick and chicken is cooked through (the poke-with-a-knife test, etc.)
    • Jill likes to add a teaspoon of sugar in there as it simmers at this step to make it a little richer and caramelized-ish
Recommended wine pairing: 2008 Pfaffenheim Pinot Blanc d’Alsace.
Grape: 100% Pinot Blanc
Region: Pfaffenheim (Alsace), France.
Notes: 100 growers created a co-operative called ‘The winegrowers of Pfaffenheim’, whose grapes are never sold outside of the Co-op. Several Grand Cru vineyards. 2010 is the first year these wines are sold in the U.S.Description: Beautiful golden-yellow color with clean aromas of peach and apricots. The palate is surprisingly dry for such intense aromas and richness. Lovely minerality and starfruit character that yields to red plum on the finish.

Serve with mango salad:
  • 3 Jersey tomatoes OR 4-5 plum tomatoes, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, also diced
  • 1 mango, diced (use a firm mango to avoid smushiness..we like crisp!)
  • as much or as little cilantro as you’d like, finely chopped
  • dash of white vinegar, to taste
  • dash of soy or fish sauce, to taste
  • squeezed 1/2 lime or 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
Dice it up and throw it all together.
I like mine extra crispy.
To balance it all out with a starch, I like garlic rice, although any rice will do. For garlic rice, just take a crapload of minced garlic and saute it in a crapload of butter before stirring in cooked white rice (I like it kinda mushy). Nom.


Pop-up Filipino Brunch at Maharlika
April 23, 2011, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , ,

When pop-up restaurant Maharlika first began serving Filipino brunch over at the Resto Leon space in the East Village, it generated a lot of buzz. They are only open on weekends from 11 am to 3 pm, and reservations are strongly recommended as it’s always booked. You are not only competing with adventurous East Village hipsters for a seat, you’ve got to beat out the Filipino lolas.

I checked it out for the first time last weekend, and I was stoked. There was no pancit or lumpia there. Instead, Maharlika offers modern Filipino cuisine adapted for brunch – most menu items feature eggs – and the presentation is less home-style and more upscale. Shown below: arroz caldo (chicken porridge), sisig (crispy pig snout, cheek, ear) served with garlic rice and egg in sizzling cast iron griddle, stuffed adobo chicken wings with garlic rice and scrambled egg. This is not really light fare, so go with your appetite intact. It’s delicious.

GM Nicole Ponseca is absolutely charming. She bubbled on about the food at Maharlika and Filipino cuisine in general, and she mentioned Maharlika would be doing a special event on May 14th at Imelda Marcos’ former home (which is currently home to the ambassador of the Philippines). The proceeds from that event will go towards the Philippine Independence Day Parade taking place on June 6.

They’ve just been told they will need to vacate the Resto Leon space by May 15th, however, as Resto Leon has decided to start serving brunch. So this is (possibly) your last chance! (They’re looking for another spot in the East Village that will let them do brunch – I recommended that they approach The Redhead). Make your reservations now – there are only a few weekends between now and May 15!

Eat: Maharlika (at the Resto Leon space in East Village) 351 East 12th Street at 1st Ave, New York NY 10003. Saturdays and Sundays until May 15th, 11 am to 3 pm. E-mail info@maharlikanyc.com for reservations. 917-710-5457. Walk-ins accepted for parties of 2 or 4, but be prepared to wait.



Fancified Filipino cuisine at Umi Nom

Nom nom nom.

The deep fried oysters served with crispy shoestring fries at Umi Nom totally blew me away with their crunchy, warm, creamy, oyster-y-ness. There was no need for the creamy sweet and sour dipping sauce which was served alongside the oysters. I’m sad to report, however, that these were a daily special, and not a regular menu item, though if I lived closer to Umi Nom, I’d be petitioning their addition to the regular menu relentlessly.

Chef King Phojanakong’s Brooklyn restaurant Umi Nom is a solid second offering from the man who brought us Kuma Inn on the Lower East Side. Umi Nom’s cuisine reflects Chef King’s influences, ranging from the home cooking of his Filipino mother and Thai father to the French techniques he picked up in other esteemed NYC kitchens (Daniel, Bouley Bakery, Jean-Georges).

Umi Nom is a place to go with a group of friends and order several small plates to share family style. If you order an average of 1.5 to 2 small plates per person, everyone should be satisfied (but make sure you include a rice and/or noodle dish for something a little more substantial).

Our dinner began with a crab rangoon amuse-bouche, fried wontons filled with cream cheese and crab. I’ve never met a crab rangoon I didn’t like, so it probably means little that I enjoyed this one, but free crab rangoon? Somehow more delicious.

Next up were the Umi Nom crispy wings, deep fried wings tossed with salt and Anaheim chilies. I prefer sauceless wings to saucy ones, so these were a big hit with me, especially with the chili kick (though I wish they had given me more chilies on the side).

The Bahay Kubo fried rice was fairly standard in terms of fried rice. It consisted of chicken, sausage, and shrimp stir-fried with white rice, egg, garlic, and soy sauce. Nothing to write home about as it was not particularly memorable, but it was a good stomach-filler since some of the other small plates were smaller.

We ordered another daily special – the pork belly adobo. The heavily charred pork belly was served with a soy, garlic, tomato, and adobo chili sauce and a sprinkling of green onions. I like my pork belly slices to be thick and juicy with a nice fat to meat ratio, and while the pork belly was very good, they could have done better by making the cuts just a little thicker and reducing the char a bit. Some char is nice, but too much makes for tough meat, and pork belly should really melt in your mouth. Still, I’d order this again as I feel like ours may have been just an off-batch. The sauce was fantastic!

Let’s revisit the deep fried whole oysters here again for a moment. Maybe even observe a moment of silence.

*Silence*

Food nirvana. THISCLOSE to being as good as the deep fried whole-bellied clams I had at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine over the summer. THISCLOSE.

On to the beef. We ordered ma-banh’s beef tapa, a dish of fried, thinly sliced dried beef served with a smoked adobo (?) and chipotle chili sauce. Basically, hot beef jerky. If you’re into that, you’ll like this. If you’re like me, you might want to pass.

We also enjoyed the sauteed sweet sausage in a Thai chili-lime sauce (but it was so popular that I forgot to take a pic of the kielbasa-like sweet sausage cut on the diagonal) and a passable (but also forgettable) pancit canton.

What I really want is to find someone’s Filipina tita to make us some pancit and some chicken adobo in her kitchen at home. Anyone want to lend me a Filipina aunt/mother/grandma for a day?

Eat: Umi Nom (Clinton Hill) 433 Dekalb Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205. (718) 789-8806.