The Adobo Challenge

Adobo is arguably the national dish of the Philippines.  Each family will have their own take on the adobo recipe that is passed down through generations.  I wrote about it once, and shared the recipe.  But I thought I’d post it again because I’m determined to introduce more people to Philippine cuisine.  One of my favourite TV moments was on The Voice, when Filipino soul singer and semi-finalist Joseph Apostol brought Sir Tom Jones adobo that his mother cooked!

Filipino flavour combinations are an amazing fusion of East and West because the wonderful amalgamation of our Southeast Asian and Chinese food traditions and the Spanish flavour influences (the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 330 years!).  The best introduction to Filipino cuisine is adobo because it is a marinading meat dish.  It is best eaten over a bowl of boiled rice but is also a good sandwich filling.  The recipe is versatile and you can use either chicken or pork.  And believe you me, it is the easiest thing to prepare!

I challenge you to cook adobo!  I’ve tried to be very detailed in writing the cooking directions and I’ve posted as many pictures as I possibly could.  This is one of the most basic versions of adobo.  Try the recipe and let me know how you get on!  Tweet a photo of your attempt at my adobo recipe to @yellywelly with your blog address or your Twitter username and I’ll  post your photo on my blog!  Please make sure you use the hashtag #adobochallenge.  Or if you don’t have Twitter, leave your details on my message board, tell me you’ve got an adobo photo to send me and I’ll reply to you so you can send me your photo! 🙂

To make ADOBO you will need:

Adobo and greens650g of pork belly or pork shoulder steaks cut into cubes or chicken thighs
5 tablespoons of soy sauce + 2 tablespoons for cooking
2 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar + 1 tablespoon for cooking
3 large cloves of garlic crushed (or 3 teaspoons of garlic granules)
1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar + 1 tablespoon for cooking
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of whole pepper corns (or 1 heaping teaspoon ground pepper)
1 meat stock cube (chicken or pork, whichever meat you’re cooking) – optional
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
400 ml water

Directions:
When making my adobo, I like using a ziplock bag because using a ziplock bag allows me to “massage” the marinade into the meat.  Place the meat in the ziplock bag.

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Add the the soy sauce  to the meat.

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Add the vinegar.

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Add the pepper and sugar to the meat.

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In a mortar and pestle, make sure the  garlic is ground to a paste and add to the meat and other marinating ingredients.

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The longer you marinade the meat the better, but a minimum of two hours (with a maximum of massaging!) will do.

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Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan and add the meat pieces, making sure that you keep the marinating liquid.  Brown the meat on all sides.  Once the meat has been browned, add the marinating liquid.  Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, the stock cube and water.  Make sure that the stock cube and the sugar are dissolved well and make sure that all the meat are covered by the marinating liquid.  Cook for about 30-45 minutes or until the fat (if cooking pork) has rendered a little bit.

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Tear the bay leaves and add to the pan.  Allow the liquid to reach a rolling boil, turning the meat pieces occasionally.  Cover with a lid.

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Allow the liquid to simmer for 30 minutes, at which time it would have thickened slightly (without you adding anything to thicken it!).

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This is my little step: after the 30 minutes are over, keep the lid on and keep the pot over the hot plate (if you’re using an electric stove, or over the ring, if you’re using a gas range) for 5 minutes without lifting the lid.
Serve over boiled rice, and voila!  You have my version of adobo! 🙂

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