Considered a National Dish in the Philippines and due to its popularity almost all tribes, clans or families have their own style and recipe for cooking this dish. It is usually cooked using either chicken meat or pork, but nowadays various meats are used. Since the Philippines is a tropical country meats are usually hard to preserve and are very prone to spoiling even if cooked. By cooking the meat as adobo it helps lengthen its shelf life due to the antibacterial properties of vinegar.
The word “adobo” comes from the Spanish term which means “marinade, sauce, or seasoning” however the term adobo for Filipinos is more specific. For Filipinos, adobo is cooking the meat slowly in vinegar with crushed garlic and other seasonings and then added with soy sauce to give more color and flavor. The said cooking practice is already widely prevalent throughout the archipelago way before the coming of the Spaniards.
Adobo now comes in many styles and forms. If you want to try cooking original adobo here is the recipe for you:
2 head of garlic, minced
2 small cups of vinegar (or you can put more vinegar or less depending on your taste)
1 small cup of water
2 small cups of soy sauce (or you can put more soy sauce or less depending on your taste)
1 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
6 leaves of laurel (bay leaves)
2 kilos of pork or chicken cut into pieces
First put in your pan the pork meat that has fat in it and add a small dash of water, if you are not using pork then you can skip this part. Do this till the fat is already reduced to oil and till the meat is brown. Stir every now and then to avoid burning the meat. This is done to reduce the fats in your pork and you can use the pork’s own oil for cooking.
Turn over to low heat, add the minced garlic and sauté it in the pork fat oil. After the garlic has turned slightly brown add the rest of the pork or chicken meat. Add in the 1 cup of water, 2 cups of soy sauce, 2 cups of vinegar while stirring to prevent the meat from sticking to the pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, then add the bay leaves. You can turn up the heat to bring it into boil and simmer until the meat has turned brown and tender, OR you can maintain the low heat for slow cooking and more flavor for about an hour.
Some people prefer their adobo’s slightly crispy with no sauce left. You can do this by allowing the sauce to dry up and then pan fry it afterwards. (WARNING: too much frying can make a bitter adobo so don’t overdo it)