I love coconut. My favorite candy as a child was Mounds, and when those weren’t around my parents sometimes caught me eating frozen shredded coconut out of a bag in the freezer. Freshman year, I met my half-Thai roommate who introduced me to the wonders of mango and sweet coconut sticky rice. Recently, I was craving coconut, but wanted it in something savory. This recipe caught my eye, as I was intrigued by the combination of ingredients that seemed atypical of my perception of “adobo.” I love that it uses chicken, a cheap, lean meat with infinite potential. If you are constantly looking to diversify common foods, such as chicken, this is the dish for you. This recipe’s uncanny blend of sweet coconut milk, tangy red wine vinegar, and salty soy results in an indulgent adobo sauce that complements the meat.
Millet is a lesser-known, gluten-free grain, perfect for if you’re feeling a little adventurous (or celiac-friendly.) If you can’t obtain millet, normal rice should work just fine. Chicken adobo is a crowd pleaser, and deceptively simple to make given the spectacular outcome. Serve with a colorful, fresh side salad to balance out the richness of the dish.
Kenzie Zimmer is a senior at Carleton College in Minnesota. A Sriracha sadist as well as a cupcake-holic, she is turning her attention to the healthy food movement, one strange grain at a time.
Chicken Adobo with Millet
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon + 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
10 boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon olive oil
One 13 oz can coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups millet
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
In a bowl, combine soy sauce, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar. Add chicken and toss, making sure each piece is coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
Drain chicken, remove from bowl, and place in a heated 12″ skillet along with the olive oil. Set the bowl with marinade aside; do not discard.
Place the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Cook chicken for approx. 3 minutes on each side, flipping once. Remove skillet from heat, drain any excess liquid, and transfer chicken to plate.
Pour coconut milk and remaining red wine vinegar into skillet and place back on stovetop over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, bay leaves, and garlic, and stir until combined. Add chicken back into skillet and bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat. After you have brought the sauce to a boil, reduce slightly and continue to cook, simmering, for about 15-18 minutes, occasionally turning chicken. Check doneness with a knife and fork, but do not overcook—it will become tough.
Remove chicken and place on plate. To keep the chicken warm, either put the plate on a warming rack in the oven or cover with aluminum foil.
Drain the pan sauce into a bowl. Measure out 2 cups of sauce and pour back into skillet (the remaining sauce can be served at the table for extra flavor) along with 2 cups water. Add millet and cook over medium heat—it should be simmering—for about 25-30 minutes. Do not stir too much. Millet will be done when there is no liquid in the skillet and the grains look fluffy.
Serve chicken and millet with a generous helping of sauce. Sprinkle peanuts and scallion on top.