Filipino Food: Adobo-The all Around Filipino Recipe

Filipino Food: Adobo-The all Around Filipino Recipe

One thing I have noticed when it comes to Filipino food is that it usually isn’t dry. Filipinos love to have gravy on their rice and many of the Filipino recipes attest to this fact. Among the hundreds of Filipino dishes (ok maybe not hundreds) that I have come across, one of the easiest and probably one of the most loved among the Filipino foods is Adobo.

When I think of ‘comfort’ food or food that is easy to love and to cook, adobo comes to my mind. It is also one of the first dishes any Pinoy learns to cook and requires just a few ingredients. Here is an easy recipe that anyone who wants a sample of Filipino food can experiment with without travelling to the Philippines. Basically, it is


• 2lbs of meat (pork belly, back ribs, chicken breast) or a combination of two

• 1tps oil (only if you choose to cook chicken)

• 1½ oz Soy sauce

• ½ oz vinegar

• 6 oz. Water

• 6 cloves of garlic, smashed

• 3 bay leafs

• 8 whole black peppercorns

• ½ tbs ground black pepper

• ½ tbs MSG ( optional)

• 2 Medium potatoes quartered


First create a liquid mixture of 1 cup with the following: 1 ½  oz soy sauce, ½ oz. Vinegar and 6 oz water) and put this aside. The 1 cup mixture is for the above recipe, if you happen to have different measurements, the way to know how much mixture to have is to make additional cups with the same measurement and add to the meat until it reaches just below the meat level.

Now its time to cook, in the pot add  the meat, garlic, ground black pepper, whole peppercorns, bayleafs, MSG and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium and let it simmer for 30 minutes and add the potatoes and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Then increase the heat to high and check every two minutes until the mixture is dry or totally evaporated or until you have enough gravy.

Additional tips that I have found helpful are below:

• Stir by moving the entire pot with a closed lid rather than using a spoon which will only smash your meat.

• If you find your mixture evaporated before time, simply add ¼ cup of water

• To be safe, follow the exact proportions of vinegar and soy sauce- getting it wrong will ruin everything.

• Keep an eye on the pot- burned adobo is difficult to remedy

• If you wish, you can add more vegetables to your adobo dish and add them in along with the potatoes.

Adobo can be tried with any kind of meat and even with fish. I personally love the nice spicy taste with a tinge of sourness that comes with a good adobo dish.  It is the first dish anyone new to Filipino food can ‘safely’ try without worrying about not liking the taste or it being ‘new’ to your palate. It isn’t as exotic as dinuguan (meat simmered in dark gravy of pig blood) neither is it ‘complicated’ as the recipes that are wrapped in lumpia wrappings.

I strongly recommend experimenting with the above recipe-not only is it very straight forward but the result is sumptuous and a great change from the ordinary food we may all be used to.  Next on my list of favourite Filipino food would be paksiw and sinigang but these two dishes may not be compatible with everyone’s taste buds.

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