This version of the Filipino national dish from the Woks of life is bursting with flavour yet uses very few ingredients.
Cooked until the chicken is so tender it’s almost falling apart and the skin is so soft it practically melts in you mouth.
The sauce is silky smooth with an aroma that is almost chocolatey.
The ingredients for the sauce are quite forgiving. You can adjust the quantities to suit you own taste.
You can substitute the cane or distilled white vinegar for white wine or cider vinegar but as this is stronger use less initially. You can always taste and add more after the sauce has been reduced.
The same with the soy sauce. Add the lesser amount at first and add more at the end if needed. Do not use light soy sauce as it will make the dish too salty.
It needs very little accompaniment, just some plain boiled rice and steamed greens like spring cabbage or bok choy.
4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
5 chicken drumsticks
1 tablespoon oil
400 ml can coconut milk
115-155 ml dark soy sauce
60-80 ml distilled white or cane vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns (or 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper)
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic (smashed)
1 dried red chili (optional)
2 tablespoons coriander to garnish
Rinse the chicken pieces and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Heat a large pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the oil. Brown the chicken on all sides until crisp.
Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, pepper/peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, and chili. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low.
Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 1 hour (add a bit of hot water if you need more liquid).
In the last 10 minutes of cooking, turn up the heat to medium high to thicken the sauce slightly. Be careful not to heat the sauce too aggressively or for too long, or the sauce may “split,” and transform from silky/creamy to oily!
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve.