Monday, May 16, 2011

Take 2: Chicken Adobo and Yellow Split-Pea Palida

 Chicken adobo simmering after braising and browning.
 
Things don't always go perfectly the first time I try a new recipe or idea. I often do a second or third (or more) take, though, to try to figure things out, learn something new, and get things right. Recently I did a couple more attempts at chicken adobo, after my first attempt, last year, was kinda "meh" and a second attempt at yellow split-pea palida. I managed to improve greatly on both of them, though I think my adobo is still not quite there.

Adobo Take 1:

Adobo Take 2:

With the adobo, one big thing was just the cut of meat. I'd just used the boneless skinless chicken breasts I had on hand the first time. My subsequent attempts, though, I used bone-in, with-skin chicken quarters. As a result the flavor is richer and the meat less dry from long cooking. Also, the skin is just delicious--but alright, if you must remove it for fear of fat and oil. The other big thing was the ratio of vinegar to soy sauce. The couple recipes I've seen just call for a lot more vinegar than I think is best (and than what I'm used to in adobo). On the other hand, adjusting the ratio too far towards soy sauce makes the dish less different from the hong shao braised meat dishes of Taiwanese and Chinese cuisine. In take two (pictured above), I got the technique parts down, I believe, with the braising and beautiful browning, but not the vinegar/soy sauce ratio. In take three I adjusted that and it tasted better, but there's still something different about the adobos I've had before. The soup is thicker and I guess fattier. I'm not sure. Maybe they added something else or used a lot of fat in the browning before simmering, or didn't skim scum while braising. Hmm. Well, on the other hand, this way feels a little lighter/healthier.

Palida Take 1:

Palida Take 2 + Roti:

For the split-pea palida, I definitely kicked it up a notch this time. I started the split-peas boiling 20 minutes early so that they would be reaching their mushy point as the rest of the ingredients were finishing. You can see in the take-2-pic that the peas are visibly mushy, versus the first one (and it's not just due to the focus of the photo). I also had all the spices on hand and used the correct amounts. (Well, except for black instead of green cardamom. I didn't know what they were/the difference before.) This time the palida was that much more flavorful. Also, I tried making roti to go with the palida this time, and it was really excellent! The texture of the roti really complements the palida well. I like it better than with rice, but it's time consuming to make. I used whole wheat flour, which is why it's tan all over instead of looking white with browning.

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