How I do adobo (everyone seems to have their own recipe):
1 whole chicken (cut into eighths)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 whole white/yellow onion, 1/2" dice
1-2 Tbsp vegetable/corn oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 whole black pepper cloves
3 dried bay leaves
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup white vinegar (yes, a full cup of vinegar -- don't worry)
In a 5 qt. pot, add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Heat on a medium high flame until oil shimmers. If the chicken doesn't sizzle, hard, when it goes in -- your pot is too cold.
Add chicken and brown on all sides (you aren't cooking it -- you're just adding color and flavor at this point). Go for a really deep browning here... it makes all the difference. Once you drop the chicken in, don't move it around for the first 2-3 minutes. If you do it won't brown... it'll just tear the skin off. Wait for it to release before turning it.
Remove chicken and pour off excess oil/rendered fat. Don't clean the pan -- leave every last bit of fond that has stuck to the bottom. Return pot to burner. Honestly, I skip this step... because the only thing tastier than chicken fat is duck fat. If you're a merciless chef or trying to drum up business as a cardiologist, now would be the time to add pork lardons to blow people away with
Add onion and sweat until nearly translucent (without browning the onion).
Add garlic and sweat just until it becomes fragrant. Again, do not brown.
Add all other ingredients: soy sauce, vinegar, pepper/peppercorns, bay leaves. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all the fond.
Return chicken to pot. If you need a little more liquid to nearly cover the chicken (don't drown it), add a little more 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 soy sauce mixture.
Reduce heat to a simmer (a few bubbles here-and-there... *not* a boil). Cover pot and let 'er go for about 20 minutes. Don't worry about the cooking time... it's nearly impossible to overcook when poaching/braising something.
Serve over steamed rice.