RECIPE: Tacos de Pollo Adobado

An adobo in Mexico consists of a couple staples with variations: chiles, garlic, spices. It can be used as a cooking liquid for braising, a marinade or a sauce over enchiladas. Technically speaking, a marinade has vinegar which acts as (traditionally since the Renaissance) a flavor enhancer and preservative of the meat being marinated. This adobo has three chiles, vinegar, and spices and can be applied to any meat you'd like. Be creative with your adobos by adding different chiles, variations on spices, chocolate etc. I like to charr the meat over a grill or sear in a pan so as to bring out that smokey chile flavor.  

Serves 4.


  • 5 cascabel chiles
  • 2 pasilla chiles
  • 2 guajillo chiles
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 whole allspice berries
  • 1 inch piece canela (Mexican cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 2 chicken breasts ( or other meat if desired)
  • 1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh lime, sliced into wedges
  • cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat the comal to low-medium heat and toast the chiles until fragrant and a visually darker shade. Place in a bowl of cool water for 30 minutes.
  2. Place chiles, garlic, vinegar, cloves, allspice, canela, cumin, water, salt in blender and blend until smooth, roughly 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the adobo over the meat and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  4. Heat the grill or pan to high heat and sear the meat until cooked (160 degrees for chicken) and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Chop into small pieces for tacos and salt accordingly. Arrange over fresh tortillas and garnish with thinly sliced white onion, fresh lime juice and cilantro. Serve with rice and beans.


Front: Cascabel

Right: Guajillo

Rear: Pasilla

Tacos de Pollo Adobado