Americans have Mac ‘n Cheese, Filipinos have Adobo. That’s our comfort food. Adobo is a dish we grew up eating at home, at parties, for holiday meals, anytime, anywhere. The origins of Adobo stem from when the Philippines was under Spanish rule but since then, what may have started as a Spanish dish has become quintessentially Filipino.
My earliest memory of Adobo was from a family picnic we went on with my grandparents. My grandmother brought a huge pot of Adobo which we ate on banana leaves that were spread out on a big bamboo table. I have yet to learn how she kept the pot hot. There was also grilled fish, rice, vegetables, mangoes, pineapples, puto and bibingka. But what I remember most was the delicious smell of the Adobo permeating the air when the lid was lifted off the pot.
Adobo can be made with pork, chicken, or a combination of both. As with most braises, it only tastes better the next day. A favorite thing to do with leftover Adobo is to shred the meat, then turn it into Adobo Fried Rice which we would have for breakfast with fried eggs and sliced fresh tomatoes the next morning. But that’s for another post.
FILIPINO PORK ADOBO
- 3 lbs. pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 1½ to 2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 cups water
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns (or you can use ground pepper)
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Mix all ingredients together in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium, and keep simmering until meat is tender.
- Remove meat from sauce and fry on all sides in a separate frying pan with a little oil.
- While meat is frying, continue to let sauce in the pot simmer so it reduces a bit more.
- Transfer fried meat to a serving bowl.
- Pour sauce over meat.
- Serve hot with white rice.
NOTE: You could skip frying the meat (Step 3) and just serve the adobo as is, though some traditionalists swear that frying the meat makes your adobo taste better. I usually skip frying.