la joya chicken

La Joya Hotel Chicken Adobo

We recently enjoyed this incredibly delicious dish for breakfast at La Joya Hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, hands down the BEST hotel I have ever stayed at thanks in large part to the graciousness of its owners Ann Conway and John Do (who makes the best breakfasts you’ve ever had).

This dish is a perfect example of Chino-Latino cuisine with its use of Mexican achiote and Asian ginger. Asian Latin fusion foods have been around for centuries. Though Asia and Latin American are half a world away, they were first united in 1565 with the Manila-Acapulco Galleons, the world’s first truly global trading route. For 250 years, huge Spanish-built ships were the means of a rich exchange that forever changed the culture and cooking of both parts of the world. In came silks, rice, herbs and spices, out went silver, tomatoes, chiles and beans. 

Below is an adaptation of  John’s recipe. Buen provecho!

3 pounds deboned chicken breast with skin
½ cup lime juice
½ cup apple cider vinegar
3 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
3 ½ chicken bouillon cubes
12 cloves garlic crushed and minced, divided
habanero chili pepper to taste or 1 dried chili cut into small strips
½ pack achiote for smoky taste and color
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon ginger

Remove the chicken skin and set aside.

Cut the chicken breasts into 3 inch pieces and place in a large saucepan with the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, bouillon cubes, 6 garlic cloves, habanero chile, achiote and water.

Place over medium-high heat and simmer or 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, adding more water, bouillon cubes and sugar, if necessary. Tip: Do not allow your boiled mixture to dry up. It should still be a bit “soupy” when you turn off the stove. Allow to cool and shred the chicken pieces. Transfer the shredded chicken along with its cooking juice to a non-reactive bowl. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken skin and cook until crispy and becomes chicharron. Set aside.

Using the oil from the chicken skin, fry 6 more cloves of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of ginger until golden in color but not burnt. Add the marinated chicken to the frying pan and cook over high heat for 10 minutes, adding more water as necessary. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve hot layered over hash browns. Garnish with the chicken chicharron and enjoy!

Serves 8

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