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Adobong Pula – Chicken Adobo in Atsuete : Instant Pot + Stove-top

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Surprise mom on Mother’s Day or any day of the year with a Filipino home-cooked dish like Adobong Pula – Chicken Adobo in Atsuete. My readers and friends emailed to ask for classic Filipino recipes for many reasons: “I’d like to surprise my mama” or “I want my mother-in-law to know I can cook” or the best reason so far “I want to recreate my mother’s cooking”.

Even if my late mother settled down in Tarlac after marrying my dad and cooked Kapampangan dishes, she often referred to her Ilonggo roots and made recipes from her childhood in Iloilo, passed on by my grandmother. So, when my niece posted her photo of adobo with atsuitis on Facebook, I was reminded of mom’s classic recipes.

The pula (red color) in this adobo is from the atsuete (annatto) seeds in the recipe. There are two ways to add this: Use the liquid from soaking annatto seeds or add instant annatto powder. I have cooked adobong pula using either the liquid or the powder, and each time the results were marvelous.

The achuete or annatto adds a nutty, saltier flavor and a vivid reddish hue to the tangy chicken stew. As the chicken simmers in the rich, red broth, the familiar garlic and vinegar aromas float around to reassure you it’s going to be a great dish. The red tint from the achuete turns into a deep, magenta as the broth and meats get even more flavorful for days after, that is, if there are even any leftovers.

Mother’s Day is an American holiday which has been commercially blown out of proportion. In the Philippines, the retail industry has embraced the stateside holiday and over the years convinced Pinoys to celebrate it as well. My point is, you don’t have to wait for a retail holiday to tell you to cook for the ones who mean a lot. No matter where you are in the world, you can cook the easiest Filipino dish in existence all year round and make mom or the mothers in your life feel special. Serve this with a lot of love even after Mother’s Day.

Adobong Pula - Chicken Adobo in Atsuete: Instant Pot + Stove-top

Adobong Pula – Chicken Adobo in Atsuete is the traditional Filipino adobo stew cooked in atsuete (annatto) with the classic ingredients of garlic, vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves and seasonings. Each region in the Philippines has their bragging rights to their own special version of adobo, the unofficial national dish. Each one is as scrumptious as the next. I often see adobo with atsuete cooked in the Iloilo and Visayas region in the Philippines. This recipe was inspired by The Adobo Book by Nancy Reyes Lumen and Reynaldo Gamboa Alejandro (Anvil Publishing Manila).
*I offer two ways to cook this: On the stove-top or in the current favorite, the Instant Pot multi-cooker. Cooking time below is for the Instant Pot.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Chicken Red Adobo Pula Atsuete
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 407kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or any brand of multi-cooker - 6 quart or 8 quart; silicone mitts for the Instant Pot
  • Large stock pot or Dutch oven: 8 quarts or 10 quarts (for stove-top cooking)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons atsuete (annatto seeds)
  • 1 cup warm water for soaking atsuete seeds
  • 1/2 cup Heinz cider vinegar or use white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds chicken cutlets bone-in
  • 2 to 3 pieces bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • boiled rice for serving

Instructions

To cook stove-top

  • In a small bowl, soak the atsuete (annatto) seeds in warm water for at least 30 minutes.
    When water has turned red, set aside the cup of water for adding to the stew. Discard the seeds.
  • In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorns, garlic, salt, black pepper. Marinate the chicken pieces in this liquid for at least 30 minutes.
  • In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough, saute the garlic. Add the atsuete (annatto) liquid.
    Add the marinated chicken and the marinade.
  • Add the bay leaves and chicken broth. Cover and let the stew boil. After it boils in about 8 to 10 minutes, lower heat to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat for 55 to 60 minutes till chicken is completely cooked.
    Serve warm with boiled rice.

To cook Adobong Pula in the Instant Pot

  • Soak the atsuete seeds in warm water and follow instructions as above to set aside the liquid.
    Marinate the chicken in the following: Vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorns, garlic, salt, black pepper for at least 30 minutes.
  • Click Saute. Add the vegetable oil to the inside pot. When oil is hot enough in 1 to 2 minutes, saute the garlic and the atsuete liquid.
    Add the marinated chicken, the marinade and bay leaves. Pour the chicken broth.
    Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the steam release handle to a Sealing Position.
    Click Manual and cook on High Pressure/Poultry for 40 minutes.
  • When buzzer sounds to announce cook time is done, do a NPR (natural pressure release) for about 5 minutes, allowing the steam to come down on its own. When the float pin drops, it is safe to unlock the lid. Press Cancel to turn off. Open lid carefully.
    Serve the adobo warm with rice.

Notes on the Instant Pot

  • After the Saute function, it takes about 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat before the High Pressure cooking time begins. For other multi-cooker pressure cooker brands, please consult the manual.
    Use accessories recommended for the Instant Pot like silicone or metal. Do not use glassware in the Instant Pot or similar multi-cookers. Consult the readers' manual for safety precautions.

Cook's comments:

  • If atsuete (annatto) seeds are not available, use Instant Annatto Powder which are sold in Asian markets, large supermarkets or online sources like Amazon. To use: Saute 2 Tablespoons of Annatto Powder with the garlic in the vegetable oil at the start of cooking. Follow the rest of the recipe procedure above.
    You can also add pork belly cubes to the chicken pieces and follow recipe directions above. This recipe is for 4 pounds of meat in a 6-quart Instant Pot multi-cooker. Be mindful of these measurements when adjusting the recipe if you add pork.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 1566mg | Potassium: 1240mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 10.5mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.9mg

Nutrition Notes: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker PotBuy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multi-cooker that cooks in high and low pressure. I was not paid by the Instant Pot company to mention the product or brand nor endorse it. This is not an ad. My views and opinions are my own.

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7 Comments

  1. Omg THANK YOU , I cannot wait to try this recipe. An aunt made an adobo, which said she came from the visayan or Iloilo region. It was only made by her and no restaurants cooked it (in my area, at least) in annatto (seeds) water like she did, so I thought I’d never find one similar to hers. Many home cooks or chefs put onions or sugar, but she never did. I’m thinking the older generations did not do that. But nonetheless is the closest I have found on the web. I have all the ingredients and can’t wait to use in my 6 qt instantpot.

    Question: Since I’ll use annatto powder and no soaking is needed as I’ll put the powder with garlic in the vegetable oil step, Do I still add 1 cup water (which was originally for soaking the seeds) for the instantpot method?

    1. Thanks, Shar for the kind words. For annatto powder, I would dissolve it first in about 1/2 cup warm water till there are no more lumps. Then pour it into the mixture while simmering. If you add the powder without dissolving first, I fear it might get clumpy within the sauce. Hope that helps.

      1. Thank you for replying. I’ll make note to add 1/2 cup of water to dissolve the Annette powder on my next one. I started it this morning in my IPot usimg the original instructions of putting powder directly to oil. It actually didn’t clump up, then I poured the 2 cups broth to keep from clumping. I’ll let you know how it turns out with my tiny tweaks.

        I have another question:
        Recipe says to add minced garlic (I use fresh garlic here) in the marinade. However it also says to sauté garlic in the vegetable oil when cookimg begins in the instant pot. Do you mean the garlic already in the marinade? Or is their another amount for the vegetable oil, that is seoerare from the 8 cloves in the marinade? (Today I just poured all the marinade with the garlic in i

  2. Thank you for replying. I’ll make note to add 1/2 cup of water to dissolve the Annette powder on my next one. I started it this morning in my IPot usimg the original instructions of putting powder directly to oil. It actually didn’t clump up, then I poured the 2 cups broth to keep from clumping. I’ll let you know how it turns out with my tiny tweaks.

    I have another question:
    Recipe says to add minced garlic (I use fresh garlic here) in the marinade. However it also says to sauté garlic in the vegetable oil when cookimg begins in the instant pot. Do you mean the garlic already in the marinade? Or is their another amount for the vegetable oil, that is seoerare from the 8 cloves in the marinade? (Today I just poured all the marinade with the garlic in it)

  3. I think visayan *iloilo, cebu, silly city, etc…) region recipes are more a rarity than other regions, imho. So I’m wondering if you have a cookbook or chapter on your website with this regions cuisines. I recall hearing her talk about molo soup, batchoy soup, miswa soup, a soup with shrimp, bamboo shoots, coconut milk, saluyot leaves (sorry the name escapes me), black bean, jackfruit and pork. I’m sure I only touched the tip of the iceberg on this regions specialties, but would like to to attempt dishes and desserts too.

    1. Shar, I have recipes on past blog posts for Pancit Molo, Miswa Soup, Bamboo shoots (adobong labong) on this site. Use the search box and type in the name of the recipe you need. Hope that helps.

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