My Mother’s Adobo with Cauliflower Rice

I am not a foodie. I don’t line up for the latest craze or I don’t check out blogs for the newest restaurants. I go out to socialize or just eat pulutan since I don’t eat rice anyway.

But I grew up with a family whose language of love is food. I grew up in a family who says “O, kumain ka na” instead of I love you. I finished the food on my plate, took a bite of whatever is on the table, and that was my “I love you too”. I grew up surrounded by relatives who would always bring their best “putahe” – Tita Deleng’s chinese lumpia, my mom’s depickles, Tita Thelma’s fruit salad, Tita Lily’s okoy, Tita Nena’s diningding, and of course, my Lola Chit’s amazing burgers. I am still trying to figure out “Aira’s _______”, my something to bring during family gatherings, my expression of love. And this learning process has been quite fun for me – a new wife, for my husband after years of living alone and on fast food, and for my family and friends who I get to cook for in our new home.

There are no I love you’s in this home but there are a lot of “Kain na!” & “Kain pa!”, and for me, that’s more than enough to fill my heart.


    Chicken Cut-ups (Thigh, wings, drumsticks)
10 pcs Tomatoes
2 heads, Garlic
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Datu Puti Vinegar
1 tbsp Black Pepper
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
10 Bay Leaves
1 medium white Onion
Hard-boiled Eggs
Parsley for garnish


1 head, Cauliflower
1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper



In a bowl, add 6 roughly chopped and squeezed tomato slices, 1 head of garlic, peeled and smashed (YES, adobo is really all about garlic!), 5 bay leaves, 2 tbsp brown sugar, soy sauce and the suka. Mix and taste so you can season it according to taste. Our adobo is slightly sweeter so if you’re used to more sour ones, feel free to add more vinegar. Add the chicken cut ups and let marinate for 18-24 hours in the refrigerator.

In a pot, saute remaining garlic and minced onion for 3 minutes. Then, add the remaining tomatoes and bay leaves. Add the chicken and set aside the marinade. Cook the chicken until slightly brown on both sides, then add na the marinade. Cover the pot, lower the fire, and let it cook for 45-60 minutes. Check on your adobo every 15 minutes to see if it needs more seasoning. Just add any of the basic ingredients – soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and brown sugar. You can serve it once the sauce has thickened and the chicken falls off the bones na.

(OPTIONAL STEP) Sometimes, if I have extra time, I take out the chicken and fry them in a different pan with chopped onions. Then I add the sauce again to let it caramelize more.

To make the cauliflower rice, grate the cauliflower florets using a cheese grater. Saute with olive oil and let it cook for 6-8 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Photography & Styling: The Movement PH

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