What is your adobo story?

If you were to ask my London born nephew what his favourite Filipino food is, with out missing a beat, “Chicken Adobo” is his answer.

Wasn’t it just last week that I cooked squid adobo? And this week a mix of chicken and pork adobo.

Adobo is the national cuisine of the country.

This has not to be confused with the Spanish adobo in spite of the fact the country was a Spanish colony for almost 700 years.

It was just named adobo when the Spaniards discovered the indigenous cooking by stewing meat with vinegar and garlic , naming it adobo to mean marinade.

The best thing about this is you can keep this dish without refrigeration and this is always cooked in a clay pot way back home.

The ingredients you need are basic:
salt , peppercorns, bay leaves and a lot of garlic.

Authentic adobo recipe did not include soy sauce, in some parts of the country it is often called adobong puti.
(blond abodo).

But the secret of good adobo is slow cooking, a good 2 to 3 hours will enhance the flavour.

Pork & Chicken Adobo

1 small chicken cut into portions
500 g pork belly
10 cloves of garlic, mashed
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 to 3 bay leaves
½ cup white cane vinegar (if not available use the apple or grape vinegar)
1/3 c rock salt ( do not use salt if you use soya sauce)

Put all the ingredient in a pot, thick heavy one if possible,
I suggest put the pork belly at the bottom if using so the fat melts nicely
Add the rest of the ingredient.

Put the pot on the high heat, and add a bit of water.
Once it boils, lower the heat to simmer but do not stir.
The vinegar taste should have evaporated by now and keep it simmering until tender.
Mine wold happily bubble for almost two hours.

Taste and tweak it to your taste.

Well now if you grow up in Central Philippines , in our island the cooked meat is fried giving it kind of caramelized taste.

Every time I cook adobo though, I always experiment with something. Let your tastebuds wander and adapt the basic adobo into your own version.
There are times, I add garlic bulbs , spring onions or even a bit of ginger.
You can also add a bit of brown sugar towards the end.

And yet the best part is left over adobo mixed into fried rice.

This story has been submitted to: The Chef Walk: The culinary social network.

Born in the Philippines, raised in Europe and globetrotter.


  • Iska

    March 30, 2012 at 1:03 am

    I’ve always known adobo to be mean and dark with soy sauce, fried, and I love it. I have never tried adobong puti. Ay I should give it a try, Sha. I’m sure it would still be flavorful!

  • joey

    April 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I always like to say that there are more adobo recipes than there are Filipinos, because it is a dish that lends itself so well to different adaptations! I love experimenting with adobo so I have a number of different recipes. Classic Pinoy chicken pork adobo, lamb shank adobo with balsamic vinegar and dates, Chinese-style with star anise…and every time I make adobo I can’t help but think of lots of other variations as well! 🙂

  • Chung

    August 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

    “… the country was a Spanish colony for almost 700 years.”

    This needs to be corrected. The Philippines was a Spanish Colony for less than 400 years (1521 to 1898).

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