Recipe courtesy of Pecking Order

Coconut Adobo Rice Arancini

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 15 hr
  • Active: 2 hr
  • Yield: 30 arancini
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Chicken Filling:

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces

2 cups distilled white vinegar 

1/4 cup soy sauce 

1 tablespoon fish sauce 

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

8 cloves garlic, chopped 

2 bay leaves 

1 can coconut milk 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garlic Rice:

2 cups canola oil

1 cup minced garlic 

5 cups short-grain Japanese rice, such as Nishiki brand 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


2 cups all-purpose flour

6 eggs, beaten with 2 cups water 

3 cups panko breadcrumbs 

Canola oil, for frying


  1. For the chicken filling: Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place the chicken in a heavy-bottomed pot and add the vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, pepper flakes, garlic and bay leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the cover, raise the heat to medium-high and stir in the coconut milk. Cook for another 20 minutes, until the chicken is falling off the bone. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve; the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and shred the meat into small pieces. Add the meat back into the sauce. Cover and refrigerate overnight, if possible.
  3. For the garlic rice: Combine the canola oil and minced garlic in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the garlic is light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Immediately strain the oil to stop cooking. Reserve the oil and the toasted garlic separately.
  4. Rinse the rice in two changes of water and drain well. Combine the rice and 9 cups water in a rice cooker and cook. Alternatively, use the traditional method: Combine the rice and 9 cups water in saucepot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes; do not remove the lid during this time.
  5. When cooked, remove the rice from the pot and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Add the reserved garlic oil and toasted garlic and mix well to integrate. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. For the arancini: Work about 1 ounce of the rice around in your hand to help it come together, then press the rice into an ice cream scoop. Use your thumb to make a well in the center; there should be just enough rice to line the inside of the scoop. Fill the rice with about 1 ounce of the chicken filling. Top with another ounce of rice and gently squeeze the rice ball to remove air pockets. Repeat until all of the rice and filling is used up.
  7. Line up the flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs in separate shallow pans or bowls. First drop the arancini in the flour and roll them around. Lift, shake off excess and then drop them in the egg wash to coat. Lift, let excess drip off and finally roll them in the breadcrumbs.
  8. Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with enough canola oil for deep frying and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Fry the arancini in batches, four or five at a time, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. (Take care not to crowd the pot; overcrowding will cool the oil and make for greasy arancini.) Drain the arancini on paper towels and serve hot.