My First Adobo

Yes! Yes! Yes! What for millions of Filipinos is something they can do in their sleep with one hand tied behind their back, is a major rite of passage and coming of age for me. Adobo is something I have never even thought of cooking myself...and with the number of people that do cook it, you never really have to. You can go your whole life just eating other people's adobo. Truth be told though, I was scared to try. Why be scared of what is basically a simple dish touted to be the calling card of Filipino cuisine and loved by almost all? Well, precisely because of that. Practically every Filipino out there has their own favorite they swear by, with a flavor they have loved their whole lives. Could I start from scratch and hazard an amateur attempt this late in the game? Find my way to Adobo nirvana when everyone else seemed to have left the starting gate generations ago? Hmmm...did I not learn to drive at the ripe old age of 29? Better late then never, and there is no time like the present to start my own Adobo tradition in my fledgling family.

So, as with most new dishes I try, I looked through cookbooks, asked my sources, and scanned through the internet. I found a recipe that I liked in Mae's fabulous Rice and Noodles. It was a recipe that looked delicious and at the same time sounded simple and undaunting. And, as with all her entries, was accompanied by a very appetizing picture! You can find her Chicken Adobo recipe here. One of the things I like about it is how she makes you mix all the ingredients for the sauce beforehand in jug, and, as she puts it:

"Stir well. Smell it. Taste it. Remember the smell and more importantly, the taste as this will be the basis of your next adobo adventure."
Enticing words and I was duly enticed! I set about getting all the ingredients together, and as you can see from the photo above, made sure to document the event! Including the "hidden Chichajo" in the pictures as I dorkily love doing.

Now, a fork in the road, chicken or pork adobo? C (who is a bigger adobo eater than me) likes chicken, I (surprise, surprise) like pork. And everyone, including my mother, advises against cooking chicken and pork together in one adobo. Logically because the cooking times differ. But I stubbornly use both and just fish the chicken out earlier, once it is done, and leave the pork to get tender.

So if you and your significant other, like C and I, are like Jack Sprat and his wife, then this may be the adobo for you.

The only things I changed from the original recipe were: adding the pork, nixing the potatoes (I didn't have any at the time), using regular soy sauce instead of light and dark, and cane vinegar (sukang puti) instead of malt vinegar (again, because of availability). I wanted to try reducing the sauce after the pork was done, but I ran out of gas. Thank goodness it was already done! Oh boy...adventures in adobo-making!

As I sat down to my first ever self-made adobo meal I was in heaven! It was definitely not bad for a first attempt, added to the disbelief that "yes, I finally managed it!", made for a very heart and tummy warming meal. And yes, C liked it too! :)

To try next time:
  1. Reducing sauce and re-frying the chicken and/or pork
  2. Shredding chicken and/or pork to make homemade "adobo flakes"
  3. Frying with rice to make adobo fried rice