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This is a recipe post for Filipino Pork Adobo. It is a dish composed of pork slices cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. There are version wherein onions are also added. Adobo is a popular dish in the Philippines, along with Sinigang.
Adobo, in general, can be cooked using different kinds of protein. Chicken is the commonly used ingredient. Have you tried cooking Filipino Chicken Adobo yet? Our tried and tested recipe should be able to help you.
This version suggests marinating the pork to make it more flavorful. Pork belly and other fatty cuts of pork are ideal for this recipe.
Filipino Pork Adobo vs. Mexican Adobo
The word Adobo was derived from the Spanish word “adobar”. It means to marinate. This can be in the form of a liquid marinade or to rub using a combination of powdered ingredient.
This version of Filipino Adobo version suggests marinating the pork in soy sauce and crushed garlic. By preference, vinegar can also be added as a marinade ingredient.
Mexican adobo, on the other hand, makes use of chillies, garlic, cinnamon, and oregano as marinade.
Both dishes look and taste different. It will be unfair to compare which among the two dishes are best because each of us has our own preference when it comes to flavor.
Filipino Pork Adobo Versions
The Philippines is composed of composed of many islands. It was initially estimated to be around 7,107. At present, the count rose to 7,641. Each of these islands belong to a cluster, which are divided into regions.
The Basic Pork Adobo version is what you see in the recipe below. There are also similar versions with additional ingredients.
Almost every region in the Philippines have their own pork adobo version. Sometimes, there can be more than one version in a location.
This is one of the favorite when it comes to family picnics. This is a dish wherein pork and chicken slices are combined and cooked inadobo style. It can be done the same way as this recipe, with or without onions. This is our clans signature summer dish in the Philippines. I remember my tito’s and tita’s prepare a large portion every summer outing. We would go to Pansol in Laguna to rent a swimming pool for the clan and they would bring with them two large cauldrons (kaldero). One has the adobo in it, while the other is for the rice.
This is another version that I tried. This is a saucier pork adobo version with cubes of potatoes in it. I’m not sure where this dish originated. It might have been initially created as a filler to feed more people. Nevertheless, I liked the taste. I think that it can be improved by pan-frying the potato first. Most of the flavors gets absorbed by the potato. It can be a carbohydrate overload when you eat the potato with rice. This is a good dish to have when before going to the gym or before starting a marathon.
This is my favorite. There are two ways to make it. Both ways require boiling the eggs beforehand. The first version is cooked by adding boiled eggs once the pork gets tender. The eggs absorb the soy sauce, thus becomes darker in color. Be cautious about the time when cooking this way. We don’t want to overcook the eggs.
How can we tell if an egg is overcooked? It is simple. Egg yolk contain iron. When eggs are cooked longer than the usual, the iron turns greenish. This color formation happens between the yolk and egg white. We often refer to this as rings. Slice the boiled egg in half and try to examine the color of the outer yolk. When you see a dark ring around it, that means the egg is overcooked.
The other version of the adobo with egg is easier and does not put the eggs at risk of overcooking (unless it was overcooked during the boiling process). Simply add boiled eggs on the serving plate before serving. The eggs also retains its white color.
This is a protein-rich adobo version. It is perfect for people who like their adobo mild in flavor. This version requires fried tofu. Always use extra firm tofu when making this. You can purchase raw tofu and fry it, or you can get packaged fried tofu from the supermarket.The tofu absorbs most of the sauce in the process which tones down the flavor a bit. This is a good dish to prepare when you are into body building or into a protein-rich diet. Make sure to use lean cuts of pork though.
A favorite among our group of friends who like to drink beer is Spicy Pork Adobo. This is the perfect pulutan as far as I am concerned. The spicier it gets, the better it becomes. I tried making this dish using the former spiciest chili pepper in the world, Bhut Jolokia (It lost its crown to the Carolina Reaper, which is way spicier). The result was a very delicious and extremely spicy adobo. The spice lingers in the mouth for a while. Be forewarned.
Classic! This is notorious for making people on limited-rice-diet crave for more rice. It is very rich, tasty, and delicious. Add a few pieces of Thai chili pepper, and you will not get enough of it.
How to Cook Pork Adobo
Marinate the pork belly in soy sauce and crushed garlic
The first thing to do is marinate the pork belly in soy sauce and crushed garlic. It is best to marinate it overnight. If time is limited, one hour should be enough. Some like to add vinegar during the process. You may do so if preferred.
Brown the marinated pork
Drain the marinade. Save it for later. The marinated pork needs to be browned. Heat a cooking pot. Add pork with garlic. You can also add a few tablespoons of cooking oil. Cook the pork until it turns brown.
Pour water and add the spices
Cook the pork until tender. Do this by pouring the remaining marinade, if any. Also add water. Let the liquid boil.
This is the part where I put the whole peppercorn and dried bay leaves. These ingredients complete my pork adobo. Boiling for 40 minutes should be enough to tenderize the pork. There are times when you have to cook longer.
Add the vinegar
If you have not added the vinegar as part of the marinade, pour it into the pot and let it cook for 10 minutes. Salt is an optional ingredient for this recipe. Use it only if you think it is needed.
Taste the sauce first so that you know what seasonings to add. Since we already added a good amount of soy sauce, salt might not be needed. However, this depends on your preference. You can also add more water here if you think that then saltiness is on the upper side. Sometimes I also add a dash of sugar to balance the flavor.
Adobo Alternative and Additional Ingredients
Pork – Use any cut of pork that you prefer. I suggest pork belly for best results. However, use leaner parts if you are trying to avoid fats. Pork tenderloin is a healthier choice. This is very tender and contains way less fat than pork belly. You can also use other proteins such as chicken and goat meat using this recipe.
Onion – This recipe does not suggest the use of onion. I think that onions help improve the taste of adobo. Use red, yellow, or white onion for this recipe. Make sure to chop it into small pieces.
Dried Bay Leaves – this is an ingredient that you can almost always find most of the time in the spice section of your local supermarket. Believe it or not, but this makes a huge difference when cooking adobo.
Whole Peppercorn – this is a traditional ingredient. It will not matter if you use crushed peppercorn or ground black pepper. Sichuan peppercorns are also good alternatives.
Sugar – adding a teaspoon of sugar will move your pork adobo on the sweeter side. I personally love the taste of adobo with a bit of sugar.
Try this Pork Adobo Recipe and let me know what you think.
Try this Pork Adobo Recipe and let me know what you think.
- Combine the pork belly, soy sauce, and garlic then marinade for at least 1 hour
- Heat the pot and put-in the marinated pork belly then cook for a few minutes
- Pour remaining marinade including garlic.
- Add water, whole pepper corn, and dried bay leaves then bring to a boil. Simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour
- Put-in the vinegar and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes
- Add salt to taste
- Serve hot. Share and enjoy!
- Pork belly is the most common cut of pork to use for adobo, but you can also use other cuts as long as it has some fat content. Fat makes the meat moist. I suggest using pork shoulder as an alternative cut.
- Filipino adobo won’t be the same without garlic. The more garlic I use, the better my adobo is (in my opinion). Crush the garlic using a mortar and pestle tool or the side of your knife before cooking. This ensures that the flavors are quickly extracted from it.
- Bay leaves or Laurel leaves is a must for this recipe. Dried bay leaves are the most commonly used due to its availability. Fresh bay leaves is good too.
- Use white vinegar. If this is not available, either cane or rice vinegar can be used as substitutes.
- I use Filipino brand soy sauce all the time. In my opinion, using other kinds of soy sauce affects the authentic flavor of the dish.
- Whole peppercorns are ideal. However, you can use cracked pepper or ground pepper for this recipe.