Manila Chicken Burger With Grilled Tomato And Adobo-Style Onions

Pairs well with:

Chenin Blanc

This wine is bursting with crisp, refreshing fruit flavors like apple, pear, and melon, making you want to swing your legs off a dock at sunset.

Filipinos now number the second largest Asian American subgroup in the US (behind the Chinese). However, Filipino dishes are not as widespread or popular among the general public as other Asian cuisines (except maybe in California and Hawaii). My mother is Filipino and I grew up eating many wonderful Filipino delicacies. Chicken adobo is the first Filipino dish I learned to cook, and is probably one of the country’s most well known dishes. Typically, whole chicken pieces are cooked in a sauce of vinegar, onions, soy sauce, and garlic, then served with hot rice and slices of tomato. This burger captures the flavor and textures of chicken adobo and is a tribute to my heritage and to the more than 4 million Filipino Americans living in this country today.


For the Adobo-Style Onions:

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
1 large (or 2 medium) yellow onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup soy sauce (preferably Kikkoman brand)
3 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large bay leaf

For the Grilled Tomato:

2 large beefsteak tomatoes
Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for brushing)
salt and pepper to taste

For the Manila Chicken patties:

2 lb ground chicken
1 1/2 tbsp garlic, finely minced
2 eggs
2 tsp soy sauce (preferably Kikkoman brand)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

vegetable oil (for brushing the grill rack)
6 onion buns, split
butter (for the buns)


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the Adobo-Style Onions: Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy, flameproof frying pan on the grill over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions, stirring. Add soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by at least 2/3 and onions are soft and transluscent (about 20 minutes). Set aside and cover to keep warm.

To make the Grilled Tomatoes: Core beefsteak tomatoes then slice into 1/2-3/4 inch thick slices (you need 6 slices). Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush the preheated grill rack with vegetable oil. Grill over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes a side (until slightly softened and cooked through). Set aside and cover to keep warm.

To make the Manila Chicken patties: In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, garlic, eggs, soy sauce, pepper, salt, and panko bread crumbs. Mix with hands until just combined, then form into 6 patties.

Brush a preheated grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties over medium high heat an cover, cooking for 4-5 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Flip patties and cook on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.

During the last few minutes of cooking, place split onion buns, cut side down, around the outer edges of the grill rack until lightly toasted.

To assemble the burgers: Spread the cut side of each roll with butter. On each roll bottom, place one Manila Chicken patty, then generously top with Adobo-Style onions and one slice of grilled tomato. Add the roll tops and serve warm.