This past weekend we enjoyed our joint Valentine’s Day/Anniversary Celebration exploring Brooklyn and the rest of New York City. Though we spent the majority of our celebratory, circuitous ”staycation” trekking by alphanumeric subway car to locales such as Avenue X, Glasslands Gallery, and Jollibee, somewhere in between we decided to play domestic homebodies and make a home-cooked meal. The result? A New Mexican/Pinoy hybrid recipe we’ve christened NM Green Chile Adovada sa Gata.
Hankering for more gustatory satisfaction after our prix fixe, Burmese-themed dinner at Purple Yam the night before, we set out to Sunset Park motivated to accrue the ingredients for Adobo sa Gata as taken from Maangchi‘s website. The full recipe below:
(FROM MAANGCHI) Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- 1 kg chicken (2.2 pounds), cut into pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ ts ground white pepper
- ½ cup white or cane vinegar
- 2 pieces of bay leaves
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 ts salt
- 1 ts fish sauce
- 2-5 green chillies*
The ingredients and cooking process she uses form the basic foundation for Filipino Adobo, omitting more traditional soy sauce for coconut milk and cream. According to Wikipedia (the world’s most trusted resource for quick, reasonable enough sounding answers), adobo sa gata is much more of a regional variation than the mainstay, heralding from southern Luzon and Zamboanga.
Our one variation, painstakingly simple, was directed towards the final ingredient on the list above, bolded and starred: replace green chillies with New Mexican green chile powder, courtesy of Rancho de Chimayo.
We cubed the chicken breast and let it marinate for 30 minutes, per Maangchi’s instructions instead of the Makulit’s usual overnight adobo marinade. We then transfered the meat into a pot in order to saute until golden brown. Once brown, the last of the leftover marinade and coconut milk were added to the mixture, cooking for 20 minutes.
After removing the excess fat from the surface of the adobo, next came the coconut cream with green chile powder in tow.
Another 10 minutes or so, plus some salt and fish sauce et voilà! A very slightly modified recipe trying to bridge two trans-Pacific regional cuisines. Maangchi’s closeup of her final product for juxtaposition against our slightly jade-tinted final product above:
(Photo from Maangchi.com)
As it turned out, the green chile itself wasn’t enough to boost up the spice, so we added an additional two bird’s eye chilis to the mix that left the tastebuds with a subtle, but lingering capsaicin rush. Our thoughts for future modifications are to replace the powder with whole roasted green chiles (either Hatch or Mesilla Valley) and perhaps to synthesize a Filipino adobo recipe with the most popular New Mexican equivalent Carne Adovada. The latter may help to blend flavors and combine the two culinary worlds instead of the simple single-ingredient alteration.
Overall, the dish ended up quite wonderfully piquant, with definite overtones of the vinger-coconut milk based adobo sa gata and undertones of the green chile flavor the Masungit grew to know and love. It was served with a side of garlic-seared bok choy for the mandatory rabbit food. The edge of the dish dissipated in subsequent leftover rounds the next day, but returned in a half-shade of its former self a few days later. Armed with thoughts about modifications and proposals for the future, we would qualify our nascent attempt at New Mexi-Pinoy fusion cuisine a moderate to encouraging success. If the birthplace for these dishes can’t be done in hip, mosaic Brooklyn or the Philadelphia of personality cult restaurateurs and niche culinary innovation, where can it?