Saturday 11 June 2011


This dish, although not one of the town's classic fares, was invented in Marikina. It was the innovation of a couple named Henry and Naty Jao who were poultry retailers at the town market. The chicken is mildly flavoured with adobo seasonings then is sautéed with chopped onions and ground chicken liver. 

My Mum took such a liking to this dish and cooked it so often. In the end, her dish evolved into one that was very different from the original even if it had the same ingredients. She did apply a distinct secret twist that she shared with me. She adds a tiny pinch of curry powder, unidentifiable but enough to make people say, "Hmmm, what is that?" (to borrow Rachel Ray's immortal words). 

Sad to say, people who miss this dish will now have to cook it themselves. This is the first time it is being written and shared. I have added my own twist by using chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken and using liver paté instead of chicken livers. I hope I did justice to my Mum's version of Chicken ala Jao.


8 chicken thighs or 1 whole chicken cut into portions
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
2 tbsps. vinegar
2 tbsps. sherry
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
cooking oil for shallow frying
2 tbsps. butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 c. liver paté
1/2 tsp. curry powder
2 tbsps. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. water


Put the chicken portions or thighs in a pan and season with the fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sherry, garlic and ground black pepper. Leave to marinade for at least half an hour. 

Add 1/2 c. water. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for half an hour, turning the chicken pieces over at half time. When done, take the chicken out of the sauce. Reserve the sauce. 

Pan fry the chicken until lightly browned. Set aside. 

In a clean pan, sauté the chopped onions in the butter until softened. Add the liver paté and sauté until it is lightly browned. Add the curry powder and brown sugar and stir for a minute. 

Add the chicken pieces, the reserved sauce and 1 c. water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about half an hour or until the chicken is tender. A bit more water may be added if the sauce gets too dry. This is now done. 

I served it here with rice and a simple mixed vegetable stir fry. I love it as pan de sal (Filipino bread rolls) filling, too.

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  1. That tiny dash of curry powder must have added a nice kick.... I love adding indian spices to my food too. It really adds to the overall flavor. So, I am sure your chicken ala jao tasted delicious and it would have made your mom proud :)

    - abeer @

  2. love the shine on this chicken what a great sauce!

  3. Thanks for sharing your mother's secret recipe with us. This sounds like a delicious dish! I've never heard of adding liver (or liver pate) to a sauce, but I can only imagine the richness it must add. Can't wait to try this out!

  4. My gosh, that chicken looks incredible - juicy and flavorful!
    The photo is gorgeous!

  5. Hi Adora! My mouth just water naturally. I bookmarked this and MUST TRY. Looks soooo good! I have accumulated so many of your recipes and I feel like this will never end. ;-) You and your family have been eating VERY well...

  6. Looks really delicious and your photos make the more tempting!

  7. hands down the dish that made me want to reach into the computer screen. I really want to eat this soo bad...delish...keep up the great work

  8. Thanks for all the lovely comments. Even if I do say so myself, this is really delicious. This is one of the dishes my Mum was famous for and I'm glad and proud to share the recipe.

  9. Well, you know how much I like chicken adobo. My mum loves chicken livers and I never like them much as a kid, but might be willing to try them in this. It certainly looks delicious!

  10. This dish sounds really quite fabulous! All those combined flavors are mouthwatering!


  11. and i just happen to have some liver pate in my fridge! love this, adora.

  12. Adding liver pate and curry powder somehow uplifts this chicken adobo to the next level! You're too generous with your mum's secrets, Adora, but now we all get to eat better because of it :-). Many congrats for making it to FB's Top 9! So well-deserved.

  13. This sounds so intriguing, adobo with liver sauce! But I love liver pate, I am sure this tastes wonderful!

  14. Woohoo! Congratulations on Top 9 Foodbuzz - no wonder. Just look at these mouthwatering photos. Finger licking scrumptious. Well done. Must try your recipe.

  15. Congratulations for being in the top 9 of Foodbuzz!!! Delicious recipe... Creative!! Bravo!

  16. Such a gorgeous platter of Chicken adobo!! love the sauce too:)

  17. Hi Adora! Congrats on fbuzz Top 9! This is indeed a very interesting recipe with liver sauce! Keep up the great work! :D

  18. That looks SO delicious!!! I will definitely be trying your mother's version!!

  19. Your chicken dish looks so appetizing! Never thought of adding liver pate to a sauce. Congrats on Top9!

  20. Congrats for making it on the Top 9! Well deserved, Adora! This chicken adobo is extraordinary just like all your recipes!

  21. Thank you to all of you, my Foodbuzz friends, for putting this post on Top 9. This was really special for me because it's my Mum's recipe. Thank you.

  22. Congrats on the Top 9! Well deserved - your chicken adobo is fabulous. We're the privileged ones to know your mom's secret recipe!

  23. Wow....I can't wait to try this....looks YUMMY!!!

  24. Can you tell me how you would use liver instead of the pate in this recipe?

  25. Paddy, if you want to use fresh chicken livers, just simmer one or two with the chicken. Grind in a food processor and use it in the same way you would use the pate.

  26. That is definitely savory as I've been fascinated by the wonderful adobo's of the Filipinos. It's truly amazing.


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