Monday, January 28, 2013

Spicy Chicken and Pork Adobo

Adobo was first introduced to the Philippines by the Spaniards in the 1500s. The word adobo comes from the Spanish word “ado bar” which literally means “to marinate”. There were two varieties: the wet (mojado) type used as a marinade or as a primer for sauces, and the dry (seco) adobo, a seasoning rub applied mostly to chicken, meats and fish. It was used
to preserve meats before the days of refrigerators and freezers. Over the years, the adobo (seco) prevailed. I believe every household have their own version of this classic dish, every Filipino adobo varies from one region to the next.

"Basically, adobo is made up of meat (chicken, pork, beef or fish) with spices basically vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, salt and some herbs. Actually adobo is a Spanish terms which means to marinate or to combine the ingredients and left for preservation. The actual historically adobo came from Caribbean and Spain where one of the places which is abundant in herbs and spices." 

herbs and spices! now why don't we experiment a little on that part,every new year that ushers in I stock up on new herbs and spices, i throw out the old and bring in the new ones, I buy in 100 gm packs only because I also have this habit of forgetting the spice I have on my cupboard and the next time I need one it has expired already , so every january I stock up on new spices and herbs,since spices are acquired taste, I tend to use a little each time I try it on the usual dish I prepare.Try half a spoon first of each spice, my version of spicy adobo did not dwell on the hot side as I used 1/4 tsp of paprika and chili garlic powder. but it definitely has that kick,tolerable spice I can assure you...and it smelled so good in the kitchen while I cook it,because of the 2 pieces of star anise added, the aroma was wafting all over the dining table, and the taste, just how I want my spicy adobo to be,not too salty, not too sour,the spices and herbs truly enhanced the dish,tolerable spice,a good balance of the sour,sweet and spice.

Simple Tips on Cooking Adobo:

1. Do not cook adobo in an aluminum pan or pot, the acid in the vinegar causes a reaction with the aluminum, Use a stainless steel pot, no adobo on teflon pans too, basically apply the same idea. vinegar reacts with teflon coating.

2. Once you pour the vinegar, keep it covered and boiling in medium heat, avoid stirring and opening the lid as the vinegar won't get fully cooked into the meat if it keeps evaporating. close the lid, medium heat,20 minutes, it's how simple adobo cooking is. 

3. once the sauce thickens, uncover and stir, add few drops of soy sauce, just a dash for that golden brown appearance. I prefer to use lea and perrins worcestershire, because of the added flavor it incorporates to the adobo.

4. Marinate the fresh meat in garlic, whole peppercorns, vinegar and soy sauce an hour before cooking, the adobo is more yummier when it has passed marinating stage.a good half hour to an hour yields good results.

5. I prefer my adobo saucy, not watery and soupy, but if you prefer one do not use water esp when you use chicken because local chicken is so injected full of water. They say it’s an industry practice and legal. So, the chicken will expel the water it needs to cook in. I suggest you add chicken broth or stock instead of tap water,2 cups if you really want a watery adobo.

6. Use equal parts soy sauce and vinegar,as I don't usually measure, i'm more of the tantiyahan (estimate) style, I go for the basic procedure which literally means, if I want it sour, I add more vinegar , if i want it a little on the salty side I add more soy sauce, the key is to taste it each time you add something, taste as you go along your cooking.

7. For the spices, keep this tip in mind, "you can always add but you  can never take back what you have already added." Maintain moderation, balance and tolerability when it comes to using spices.

Spicy Chicken & Pork Adobo


1/4 kilo chicken thigh
1/4 kilo pork liempo (belly)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red cane vinegar
1 head garlic,finely chopped
2 red onions
1 pc potato,quartered
1/2 tsp. iodized salt
1 tsp lea and perrins worcestershire sauce

herbs and spices:

2 pcs. star anise
3 pcs. bay leaf
1/4 tsp. ground paprika
1/4 tsp chili garlic powder
1 tsp, whole peppercorns/half ground
1/4 tsp dried oregano


Massage garlic and onions into the meat, add soy sauce and vinegar.

Add all the herbs and spices.Leave to marinate for an hour.

Cook and once the mixture boils , keep it in low heat avoid stirring. cook uncovered once the sauce thickens.

Add a dash of worcestershire sauce for that golden brown look. keep cooking in low heat.

Throw in the quartered potatoes and bring to a quick boil

Lastly, add fresh chopped onion leeks and onion rings.

done! serve hot over steamed white rice.

In my opinion, Adobo is best eaten a day after, Agree? Happy eating!

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