Adobo, the quintessential Filipino dish. Forget lechon and its pretensions; rarely is adobo served at fiestas and gatherings. You’re more likely to find it at Juan and Juana dela Cruz’s dinner table. That’s because adobo is your honest everyday working man’s (and woman’s) fare.
Adobo is a dish you learn at your mother’s knee. Each family has its own prized recipe. My mom cooked adobo with hardly any soy sauce. My grandmother, on the other hand, made hers so dark it was almost sinful. My mother will probably disown me but I tend to favour my grandma’s version.
My own recipe has evolved over time. At some point my adobo had chicken, not just pork, in it. There was also a time when I added sugar to it. But I’ve found myself going back to the basics of late, albeit with a few twists. This recipe is a bestseller at home. My 10-year old son, Gabby, has copied it down in his notebook. He said he will cook it for his own kids when the time comes.
- 2 1/2 kg pork spareribs cut into bite sized pieces. If your butcher likes you, get him to cut it across the bone – see photo
- 175 ml Kikkoman soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 4 tbsp good quality vinegar
- 1/2 head garlic, crushed and skin removed
- 1/2 tsp coarse milled black pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 75 ml water
How to Cook Pork Adobo
Put all ingredients together in a deep saucepan. Cover tightly but leave a little gap to allow some steam to escape. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a steady simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Serve with rice – steamed or fried, tomatoes and salted duck eggs. Or allow to cool and keep half in the freezer – adobo can keep for weeks, and half in the fridge – ready to heat and serve.