Another cracker Filipino stew. This chicken asado is simple in nature, yet there are so many flavors going on at the same time. It’s a brilliant combination of tangy, sweet, sour and savory… Yet another Asian umami bomb. The chicken is marinated in citrus juice and soy sauce as the main flavors boosters, then braised to perfection in tomato sauce until the meat is tender and fall off the bone…
ALERT: It’s going to be very difficult to say NO to rice when this one is finished cooking in your kitchen!
I am always excited when some stew or curry is happening in my kitchen. There is something special when meat is cooking slow and low in your pot. Every single time it takes a little different shape, with a little different outcome as the ingredients vary.
I absolutely love Filipino flavors. Mild in spice but rich in the complexities of flavor. Our chicken caldereta and pork menudo are stars and very popular with our readers. So I decided to give Asado a try. One look at my bowl and I know this one is a keeper too.
What is Chicken Asado?
Does Asado sounds Spanish to you? Yes it is. The word Asado comes from the Spanish word “Asar” meaning to roast or grill. In general it refers to anything that is roasted, grilled or barbecued. The classic example is Mexican or Cuban pollo asado, which is marinated chicken grilled or roasted.
Well this Filipino asado is nothing like the asado from some of the Spanish speaking countries. Here the meat is braised low, slow and steady in a tomato based sauce.
The Philipines was under Spanish rule for over 300 years. But long before that, they were already trading with China. The mingling of various cultural and culinary influences is very typical in Filipino cooking.
This stew has elements of stewing the meat in tomato sauce, something they might have adapted from Spanish culture, whereas the presence of soy reveals Chinese influence too. In fact, there is a complete Chinese variation which uses brown sugar and Chinese spices like five spice.
Asado is something passed from one generation to another, going from mothers kitchen to daughter’s. Every province of the Philippines has little variations, and no household has the exact same recipe. This is their everyday affair, as well as a dish for special occasions, something that they hold close to the heart.
Let’s see what you need to make this Filipino classic
To marinate the chicken
- Chicken – Traditionally whole cut up chicken goes in asado. We are using bone in chicken thighs with the skin removed. Any dark meat results in more flavorful and tender stew.
- Lemon juice – Filipino chefs commonly use calamansi juice instead. It is a citrus fruit similar to lemon.
- Soy sauce
- Garlic – Finely chopped.
- Bay leaf
- Star anis
- Freshly cracked black pepper
For the stew
- Onion – Chopped.
- Tomatoes – We are using canned tomato sauce here. You can use canned diced tomatoes, just blend them to make them saucier.
- Garlic – Finely chopped.
- Oyster sauce
- Potatoes – Cubed.
- Bell peppers – Cubed.
How to cook chicken asado
Like the simple and few ingredients, it’s a simple straightforward recipe.
Start by marinating the chicken with all marinade ingredients sometime in the morning or afternoon. The secret to a good asado is marinating it for at least two hours. Longer, if you have the time, always helps. Cover and store in your refrigerator.
When ready to cook, heat oil over medium heat. The first step is to give some color to the chicken. Remove the chicken pieces from your marinade (reserve the marinade as it goes in the stew later) and cook 4-5 minutes per side. Plate the chicken pieces out.
In the same pan, sauté onion and garlic till the onion becomes soft and gets a light brown color. Add in tomato sauce and marinade and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in oyster sauce.
Time for the chicken pieces to go back in the pot. Cover and cook for five minutes. Add in one to one and half cups of water, depending how saucy you want your stew (asado in general is a thick stew) along with sugar to cut down the tang from tomatoes and lemon. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add in diced potatoes. There goes all the flavors, savory umami from the soy, tang from lemon and tomato, sweet from sugar. Let the chicken cook happily in all these varied flavors.
It is common to add liver paste to thicken the sauce. As you can see, I am skipping this step, just a personal preference.
Oftentimes, the locals like to fry their potatoes in some oil and them to the stew towards the end, when chicken is cooked. You can try that some day, but personally I feel it’s an extra time consuming step without contributing too much to the flavor.
Towards the last 10 minutes of cooking, add diced bell peppers. You want them to still retain their crunch when your asado is ready to serve.
- Instead of canned tomato sauce, use fresh tomatoes. This would turn out less tangy, as fresh tomatoes are sweeter than canned.
- The Chinese style of cooking asado skips the tomatoes completely. Along with soy, the chicken is cooked in chicken broth with most of the same ingredients, with the addition of Chinese five spice powder.
What to serve this with
Of course, a heaping bowl of steamed hot rice. This stew turns up so delicious that the rice goes off the plate pretty fast.
This would be great with crusty bread or even pasta.
It’s very common to use shredded asado chicken as a filling in Filipino steamed buns. This is called “siopao Asado”.
Cauliflower rice or mash are great options to finish off this yum chicken stew.
They are great, as with any other stew. Store in an airtight container up to 3-4 days in the fridge. This one freezes well for a couple of months.
Filipino cooking is so easy, yet packed with dense flavors. If you want to try some new Asian style recipe, give this stew a try. It’s more like chicken cacciatore, braised in tomato sauce, just some additional Asian flavors. Pin or bookmark this stew and keep on coming back to GypsyPlate. There’s a lot more coming your way… 🙂
Chicken Asado, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
Try these other great chicken curries and stews!
Indian Chicken Masala
Dominican Pollo Guisado
South African Chicken Curry
Trinidadian Curry Chicken
Mediterranean Braised Chicken
Japanese Beef Curry
- 2 lbs bone in chicken thighs, skin removed
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 star anise
- 3 Tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1.5 cup tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 large potato, cubed
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cubed
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cubed
- 1/2 green red bell pepper, cubed
- Marinate chicken with all marinade ingredients for at least a couple of hours.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and sear chicken (reserve the marinade for later) undisturbed 4-5 minutes per side. Plate it out.
- In the same pan, sauté onion and garlic till onion gets soft, translucent and lightly browned.
- Add in tomato sauce, remaining marinade and oyster sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in chicken, mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in 1.5 cups of water along with sugar. Stir well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add in potatoes (see note 1) and continue cooking till chicken is cooked. Towards the last 10 minutes, add in diced bell peppers. Cook till chicken is fall off the bone. (see note 2)
- You can fry the potatoes separately in the beginning and them add them towards the end when the chicken is almost cooked.
- Chicken is considered safe to eat at 165°F. For fall off the bone tender, I prefer to cook it to 180°F.
- You can cook the same recipe with fresh tomatoes instead of canned.
- For a saucier version, increase the amount of water.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 346Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 138mgSodium 1248mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 3gSugar 6gProtein 31g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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