My mom could make this recipe with her eyes closed.
Ah, adobo, tender chunks of pork or chicken and salty, but slightly sweet sauce. This was one of the first recipes I asked for before I left for college. It’s without a doubt one of my favorites.
Adobo ‘AH-DOUGH-BO’ is a popular Filipino dish made by marinating meat and/or vegetables, then simmering them in the same marinade until tender. There are countless ways to make adobo, every family has their own variation, and all versions are well-loved. The name comes from the Spanish word ‘adobar,’ which means ‘marinade.’ Filipino adobo is not actually Spanish, but it was named so by the Spanish colonists that saw the native dish as similar to their own adobo. Both have marinades (same same?). WRONG.
Okay okay, I’ve never actually had Spanish adobo (foreshadowing?), but the ingredients in comparison are quite different. Here’s what you’ll need for my mom’s Filipino adobo:
1.5lbs cubed pork
1.5 tsp chopped garlic
4 Tbsp soy sauce (Filipino Silver Swan or Lauriet)
1/2 star anise
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1.5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 shallots or 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup water
TIP You can use chicken (thighs, wings, drumsticks, bone-in of course) instead of pork. Follow the recipe as is and add in a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger with the onions while sautéing.
Step One: Combine pork, garlic, soy sauce, star anise, peppercorns, bay leaves, and vinegar in a large bowl. Stir until the pork is evenly coated, cover, and let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 day. If marinating for 1 day, rotate the meat midday, so no piece feels left out. #NoFOMO
Step Two: Heat the oil in a large wok or pot and sauté the shallots (or onions) until translucent. Then, add your sugar and stir until dissolved.
Step Three: Strain the pork from the marinade (SAVE THE MARINADE) and dust it with the flour before adding it to the wok. Add the pork to your pot and let it brown.
Step Four: Once browned, add your precious marinade juices and water to the pot. Let everything come to a boil and simmer on medium heat until meat is tender (approx. 45 minutes). If the sauce starts looking scarce, add 1 cup water at a time to keep it from drying up and at a simmer.
Step Five: Serve hot with jasmine rice.
TIP: Leftover adobo is ALWAYS better the next day. Pop ’em in the fridge and let the marinade work its magic.