Getting Over the Hump: BalletX's Caili Quan Cooks Comfort Food for Friends

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BalletX dancer Caili Quan weighs in on keeping her energy and spirit up in the middle of long rehearsal weeks. You can catch her performing in the BalletX’s Spring Series this April at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia.

Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.


{ Dd }: What gets you over the hump?


Caili Quan: I really enjoy cooking. I try to plan out a delicious dinner that I can look forward to after a long Wednesday. There’s this one dish from home that my sister taught me to make called Estufao, it’s very similar to the Filipino Chicken Adobo. It’s very much comfort food because it reminds me of growing up on Guam. I usually like to invite friends over, open a bottle of wine, share a good meal, and unwind.


Try Caili’s Estufao for yourself and see if it does the trick:

1 package of chicken legs or thighs
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
touch of black pepper
touch of salt
chilli flakes or a tiny hot pepper (optional if you like spicy)


1. Add the slices of onion to a mixing bowl, add a little bit of salt, and squeeze the bits of onion until some of the juice comes out.
2. Add the smashed garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and a little bit of black pepper to the sauce. Feel free to add water if the sauce is to salty. I personally like to make my estufao a little on the sweet side. Just keep tasting it until you like the flavor.
3. Brown the chicken in a pot over high heat.
4. Then add the sauce to the pot. Keep the heat on high until the sauce boils.
5. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cover.
6. Keep it on medium low for about 20 – 30 minutes. Check on it once in a while to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn.
7. Serve with white rice.


What gets you over the hump? Tell us in an email to or tweet us @diydancer #getoverthehump
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