The Philippines' original to-go food

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2008

Adobo is such a common and popular dish in the Philippines that it is considered the national dish.

Every family has its own recipe and every region has its variant. It is the uniting comfort food for homesick Filipinos living abroad.

Typically made from pork or chicken, or a combination of both, adobo is slowly cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaves and black peppercorns. Adobo originates from the northern Philippines, and, because one of its primary ingredients, vinegar, is a preservative, it was the ideal food for Filipino mountaineers and travelers.

Like most other Filipino dishes, adobo can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It goes well with other recipes but is best with plenty of sticky white rice. Adobo also has become a popular flavor in Asian food products, such as chips, nuts, crackers and soups.

Traditionally adobo is one of the first dishes Filipinos learn to cook. It is simple and requires just a handful of ingredients. In good-tasting adobo, none of the spice flavors dominates but rather the taste is a delicate balance of all the ingredients.

The most widely preferred type has traditionally been pork adobo, followed by chicken adobo, which is considered somewhat healthier.

Some adobo presentations use combinations of several main ingredients. Typical combinations include adobo made with pork and string beans, or pork-chicken adobo with hard-cooked eggs and potatoes.

Pork adobo

1½-pounds pork, shoulder or butt, cut into 1½-inch cubes

¼ cup vinegar

½ soy sauce

3 cloves garlic crushed

3 small bay leaves

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup water

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pot; let it boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Over medium-low heat, simmer and cover for 45 minutes or until meat is tender. Serve over white rice.

You can substitute chicken or use both chicken and pork. Season to taste.

Prep: 10 minutes.

Cook time: 45 minutes.

Servings: 4 to 5.

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