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A pot of chicken adobo next to a bunch of garlic heads

How to Cook Adobong Manok Without Soy Sauce

Many consider adobo the Philippine national dish. You can't walk into Filipino restaurants without finding adobo in their menu lineup. Similarly, you'd be hard-pressed to come across a household where nobody knows how to cook adobong manok, baboy, or any other variations.

But did you know that the typical soy-based Filipino chicken adobo recipe isn't considered the OG recipe by some? Depending on who and where you ask, traditional adobo can mean the soy sauce-based version, adobong dilaw, or adobong puti.

However, it's essential to know that the process of cooking adobo predates colonial times, which is why many believe adobong puti to be the original. This is because soy sauce is a trade product, while salt has been locally available already.

Extremely underrated, soy sauce-free adobo is a recipe you should make more of at home. To get started, here's a list of ingredients you can use to substitute soy sauce.


A small bow filled with sea salt on a wooden table

Many cooks like to reach for sea salt or regular table salt in their adobo recipe. Salt flavors the dish and acts as a tenderizer for the meat. Using salt will make the adobo look pale yet its deliciousness remains. 

Fish Sauce

A small saucer filled halfway with pungent amber-colored fish sauce

Patis or fish sauce is a very flavorful condiment. Fish or krill go through a fermentation process for at least two years. Like soy sauce, fish sauce carries an umami quality. A word of caution: Patis features a robust pungent taste so use it in moderation. The good news is that you can easily find a simple adobo recipe with fish sauce as one of its main ingredients. 

Chicken Broth Cube

A pack of Knorr Chicken Cubes

Look no further if you are trying to figure out how to cook adobong manok minus the soy sauce. Knorr Chicken Broth Cubes can give any dish the full flavors from a kilo of chicken. Each bullion is packed with seasonings and spices to boost your adobong manok recipe.

Miso Paste

A bowl of umami-filled miso paste on a wooden table

Miso paste is a traditional Japanese seasoning made of soybeans. Incredibly versatile, miso is salty and can be used to substitute soy sauce or patis. The paste is considered a vegetarian and vegan alternative for people who follow these diets. If you are trying to learn how to cook adobong manok sa puti, miso paste is the salty umami ingredient you can use. 

Garlic Salt

A small heap of garlic salt next to a few cloves and a head of garlic

Garlic salt is a blend of salt and garlic powder. Although a simple seasoning, it is favored by many cooks. Using garlic salt in place of soy sauce for your chicken adobo recipe lends a pleasant but distinct kick and savory flavor to the dish. 

Sinigang Mix

A pack of Knorr Sinigang sa Samapalok Mix

Sinigang mix is slowly becoming a unique addition to adobo recipes. Each packet of Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok Mix contains a combination of seasonings like salt, umami-rich msg, sugar, and a few other ingredients like tomato, taro, and tamarind. Since using sinigang mix is relatively new, some trial and error are needed to get the right timpla.

Adobong puti, though uncommon, is just as delicious as the adobong itim (soy sauce) version most Filipinos know. If you're looking for a creamier viand, adding coconut milk to adobo is a Bicolano practice worth trying. Turmeric or achuete oil are some other alternatives you can introduce to your family. Learn how to cook adobong manok sa puti with these easy-to-find ingredients.

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