I am a Scout Ranger and a professional soldier. Due to my profession as a warrior, I am 'forced' to become a cook at times to survive with my buddies in the mountains. As an Army motto says, "Be all you can be!".
The popular viand among Scout Rangers is canned sardines. Every SR operator is very familiar with brands like 555 and Ligo.
It is widely known in the Army that the Rangers have a thousand ways to cook the famous sardinas.
Just imagine eating sardinas for weeks in the jungle! We have countless 'sardinas mix' like papaya, dahon ng sili, labong, kulop, pako, etc.
During lulls of combat operations, I always looked for my favorite menu to get rid of the hated sardines. It is locally known as the adobong manok (chicken adobo).
In rare occasions, I cooked our dish under the tutelage of my soldiers and sometimes, the local residents whom we befriended in the area.
Let me therefore introduce to you my unique Scout Ranger chicken adobo.
To the fundamentalist Pinoy cooks, please don't castigate me for my version of the chicken adobo. Who knows, you will like the taste too!
I am proud to report that I passed the scrutinizing taste buds of my wife and especially my son Harvey. For me, that is something to be proud of.
I am aware that adobo is derived from a Spanish word which means 'to marinade' or 'seasoning'.
It is said that the Christian invaders discovered that our Muslim ancestors like Rajah Lakandula and Rajah Humabon prepared an 'indigenous cooking process' which involved stewing with vinegar.
Since then, they refer to the food prepared using that that style of cooking as 'adobo'.
As an absentee father for many years, I used my 'secret cooking style' to bond with my son. The first time I volunteered to prepare the dish last year, he was reluctant. He had never seen me prepare our meals all his life.
He secretly arranged with his mom to buy cooked food that he can eat if my dish turns out a 'disaster'.
Let me say again, my menu is the Scout Ranger adobo. My technique is a blend of wild imaginations and 'copy-pasting' the techniques used by people that I met in my various assignments (Visayan, Ilocano, Ilonggo, Tagalog).
Unlike most of the proud 'kusineros' (chefs), I don't marinate the chicken meat for a longer period.
Let me tell you that in the jungle, Rangers just stay in a patrol base for a short period of time (not more than 24hours). We don't wait for the enemy to come and disturb our cooking. (While we cook our food, our snipers and machine gunners stand guard anyway)
These are my sample ingredients:
1 kilo chicken pieces, cut up
1 head of garlic, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp soy sauce (or more to taste)
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp of Cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar (coco vinegar locally known as 'tuba' is my favorite)
4 pcs bay leaves
Scout Ranger's adobo cooking steps:
- Mix the chopped chicken meat with vinegar, cayenne pepper, half of the garlic, bay leaves, cooking oil and soy sauce.
- Cook slowly in a frying pan. Add 1/2 cup of water when the meat turns brown. Keep mixing the meat to ensure that they are evenly cooked.
4. Keep mixing the meat and the ingredients until about 25minutes of cooking.
5. There should be a little sauce left in the pan (my Ranger adobo does not have 'sabaw').
6. Serve with any of the following: steamed rice, saging na saba or camote.
After our meal, I could not see any leftovers. My son was licking the 'drumstick' like there was no tomorrow.
He certainly liked my Scout Ranger adobo. He did not bother to eat his 'alternate' dish.
I was glad that my cooking did not end a disaster. My weekend bonding moment was a success!
(Note: You can copy my unique menu at your own risk of a 'cooking disaster')