(May 3, 2012)
In my house, this dish has always been a staple. Adobo, much like the Spanish-type seasoning, has a very strong garlic base mixed with a tang of vinegar and soy sauce. I was a kid of the 90s, and along with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Capri Sun, I grew up watching cheesy paid advertisements for cooking devices that you "set it and forget it". That last sentence might sound like a serious tirade, but in reality, that is what I view this dish to be like. It was one of the first meals I learned how to make by myself, and it is so versatile and essentially idiot-proof. Of course, there are many different takes on this classic, and even in my family, there a three different versions going around. My mother likes to cook her adobo with chicken, and after it has mostly cooked and simmered in the brine I will talk about in detail later, she chooses to fry the pieces of chicken in a separate frying pan to give the chicken meat a slightly golden brown color and crispy consistency. My dad, however, like to make his with pork, and prefers to add potatoes in the mix. Again, these are just slight variations to the original... a little flair, if you will.
I prefer my adobo as classic and plain as possible, with only one slight variation. You will find that it is also the easiest of versions to pull off (partly because I'm lazy, and partly because it is delicious in its simplicity). As with most Filipino dishes, it is frequently served over white rice. Enjoy!
3 lbs pork with skin, cubed
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup vinegar
5 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1 tablespoon pepper corns
3 pieces of bay leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1. First, prepare the pork by sprinkling it with some meat tenderizer and setting it aside in the refrigerator for 30 mins-1 hour.
2. In a large pot, combine all ingredients (pork, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, onion, pepper corns, bay leaf) except sugar. Make sure that the pork is fully coated with the brine. Remember that the soy sauce and vinegar are in a 1:1 ratio, so if you need to add more, just make sure that they are in equal parts.
3. Heat covered in med-high heat for about 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will find that the pork will release quite a bit of fat as it cooks (You can choose to skim this off as a healthier option) meanwhile, the soy sauce and vinegar will thicken as well.
4. Cook thoroughly until the meat is no longer pink. Minutes before you take it off the heat, sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar and mix thoroughly. This will give the adobo some added sweetness and will allow some mild caramelization on top of the meat.
Again, this meal is best served over white rice. Enjoy!