Friday, March 11, 2011

T.G.I.F. - Thank God It's Filipino

I realized I have not posted much Filipino food here on the blog, hence the title :)

My lunch for today is Adobo, the most popular dish of the Philippines besides other dishes like pancit and balut. I decided to brown-bag it today.  It's the first Friday of this lenten season, which makes it a day of abstinence, yet I will be consuming meat for economic reasons.  I reasoned that instead of eating out and spending about $8 to $10 for lunch, I will just eat left overs and give the savings to charity... or use the money to pay tax dues, or accrued debts, or unpaid medical bills.  Financial worries is mounting these days.  By the way, Uncle Sam just billed me with a whooping $1800 for 2010 taxes.  With these in mind, not spending money for lunch is just the right thing to do.

On the other hand I only had meat dishes to choose from for my brown bag - coq au vin or adobo.  I went for the latter.  The thought of pairing it with the salted duck eggs I bought at 99 Ranch yesterday seemed just hard to pass up.

FYI, I only ate 1 salted duck egg although the photo shows six.

Adobo is gaining popularity lately, even featured on New York Times.  In the Philippines, the recipe varies not only by region, but in every household.  It's a variation of many things - the liquid to meat ratio, or the soy sauce to vinegar ratio, or if you even use soy sauce at all like Market Manila.  Some like it with coconut milk, some like it with pineapple juice instead of vinegar, some like it sort of sweet thus adding sugar.  Some like it a little fried while others prefer it with a little gravy or kind of saucy.

Basically adobo uses a simple blend of garlic, vinegar and soy sauce.  And you can pretty much make any type of meat into adobo - chicken, pork, beef, fish, squid and even some vegetables like kangkong. But for everyday cooking I prefer to make pork adobo... using a fatty cut.... like... pork belly!  It's artery clogging but  a few bites won't hurt I think.

My adobo continues to evolve.  I keep experimenting, trying different recipes for it but it is always good to know the basics.


  • 1  tablespoon  vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds pork or chicken (i prefer pork belly)
  • 5  cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1  cup  vinegar
  • 1/3  cup  soy sauce
  • 1  teaspoon  whole black peppercorns
  • 2  bay leaf
  • 1 cup water


1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then turn over and cook an additional 5 minutes. 
2. Add garlic and cook, about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil.  Lower heat, cover and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Uncover, increase heat to medium and cook 10 to 15 minutes more, occasionally spooning sauce over  meat, until sauce thickens a bit and meat is tender and nicely glazed with sauce. Remove bay leaf before eating.

Serve over rice.
Note: If you dread the fatty oil, you can cool and refrigirate a bit then remove the fat that harden on the surface.

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