In the Philippines, pork adobo is a dish braised in garlic, soy sauce, oil, and vinegar. Due to its popularity, ease in preparation, and long storage life, it is considered the national dish among the Filipinos. Another great thing about adobo is its versatility. This dish is not just limited to the most commonly used meats – pork or chicken. Others cook their beef, veal, goat meat, shrimp, squid, water spinach (kangkong), bamboo shoots (labong), or bok choy in the same manner.
You’ll find different variatons of cooking adobo when you visit various regions of the Philippines. Some of the many variations of this dish includes adding potatoes, boiled eggs, pineapple chunks, or coconut milk (adobo sa gata), or using turmeric (yellow adobo/adobong dilaw).
For this post, let me share with you a simple pork adobo recipe that you can make in your own kitchen too!
You can use different cuts of pork, but the most commonly used in the Philippines is pork belly. It is not the healthiest option because this is fattier, but the fat sure adds more flavour to the dish. You can opt for a leaner cut of pork if you wish or whatever slab of pork you have available.
My husband recently bought us two 9.5 lb pork loin when they went on sale, and stored them in our freezer for future use. When I took one of the monstrous meats out of our chest freezer to thaw, I divided them into 3 parts, and made 3 different Filipino dishes. Jackpot! (With this pregnancy I have been craving lots of Filipino food!). I marinated the first half to make my amazing pork skewers, and divided the second half into 2 dishes – pork binagoongan, and pork adobo.
Something to Consider: For a saucier adobo, just add more of the liquid ingredients and adjust the portions according to your desired taste. If you want your adobo a little bit dry with a thicker sauce, just continue simmering the dish in med. heat until you achieve the desired consistency of your sauce. We like ours runny. I pour the awesome sauce all over our rice, and we all devour our food! (To avoid feeling guilty eating too much rice and meat, we eat this with loads of fresh plain spinach).
This is one simple dish you can never go wrong with! The key is to add the liquid ingredients gradually and make sure you keep tasting it. You can use less or more than the amount of ingredients I had in this recipe depending on your preference. Let your taste buds dictate!
Let’s begin, shall we?
SIMPLE PORK ADOBO
- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs pork loin, (or pork belly or pork shoulder or any cuts of pork), cubed
- 1-2 tbsp. minced garlic
- 5-7 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
- 4-6 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 – 1 tbsp. oil
- 2 cups water
- 2 tsp. whole peppercorn
- (Optional) salt to taste
- In a deep non-stick pan, heat the oil. (You would need to use more oil if you are NOT using a non-stick wok/pan).
- In low-med. heat, saute garlic for a minute or two. Add the whole peppercorn, and then bay leaves. After a few minutes, add the pork. (Cooking it this way will ensure the flavours of garlic, bay leaves and peppercorn will get infused to the meat. You can also marinate the pork with garlic, soy sauce, and pepper for an hour or overnight. I didn’t have the time to do this, but my dish still turned out very flavourful!).
- Cook the meat until no longer pink and starting to brown on both sides (but make sure not to burn your garlic Adjust heat if necessary).
- Add vinegar and allow to boil, uncovered and without stirring, for about 3-5 mins.
- Then add soy sauce and water. Let it boil. Cover and simmer in low heat for 30-40 mins until your pork is tender.
- Taste your sauce and add some salt if need be. If you are going to add some more vinegar, make sure to let the mixture boil for a few mins again without disturbing it. This allows you to get rid of the strong flavour of vinegar. Simmer uncover if you wish to thicken your sauce.
- Serve hot in a dish or on top of steamed white rice.
Disclaimer: I don’t normally use measuring spoons/cups when I cook. Unless I’m baking of course. Cooking is more of an art. So when I cook, I usually just eyeball things. The key is to taste your food while you cook, and adjust your spices as your taste buds dictate. What maybe sweet for me, may not be the case for you. Hence, the lack of measurements on my recipes. I will leave that up to you. All the necessary ingredients (and tips!) however will be provided.