5 Secrets to Tasty Adobo
This dish is almost always on everyone's "favorite" list. But how do you make perfect adobo all the time?
Humble yet hearty and satisfying, adobo is a favorite that never fails to bring comfort to Filipinos. Every household has their own tried-and-tested recipe and their own way of cooking up a perfect pot. It will be hard to emulate everyone’s lola/ mother/ uncle/ yaya/ (insert beloved adobo cook here) at making the best there is. But you sure can try!
Adobo can be a throw-everything-in-a-pot dish, but with more gentle handling, you can get more delicious results worth the extra effort.
Check out these tips for a delicious adobo that you and your loved ones will enjoy. You’ll all be asking for extra servings of rice!
1. Choose your ingredients well
Using the best ingredients will give you delicious results. Use natural vinegar instead of distilled white. Up the umami by using your fave soy sauce.
It may not be traditional, but you can experiment with flavors that will suit your taste. Try using sukang pinakurat, apple cider vinegar, or even balsamic.
For the protein, go for flavorful meat. Chicken legs and thighs are favorites. When it comes to pork, liempo is an irresistible choice because the fat becomes sticky and gelatinous. It helps thicken the sauce, and gloriously melts with every bite.
2. Marinate the meat
A good marinade must have the perfect balance of acid, oil, and spice. Mix ingredients in a bowl, add the meat, and let it marinate for at least an hour inside the refrigerator. The vinegar softens the meat, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the sauce and be juicier as a result.
3. Cook it right
Brown the meat. This enhances the flavor and adds complexity to the dish. And when you add your liquid, scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure you get those caramelized bits of meat sticking to the bottom.
Simmer, don’t boil. Cooking meat in unnecessarily high heat can make food dry and tough. The liquid in your pot shouldn’t be vigorously churning. You should see gentle bubbling instead. Keep the temperature at a medium-low.
Cook chicken and pork separately. They have different cooking times. You don’t want one protein to be cooked to mush while the other is still a bit tough. You want it ‘just right.’ Once you’re happy with how the meats are cooked, remove pieces from the pot and just combine them with the sauce afterwards.
4. Add some liver
You may love it or hate it, but some cooks swear that using liver enhances the adobo.
Cook it, mash it, and mix it into the sauce—allow it to thicken it and add more flavor.
5. Let the flavors develop
It would be hard to resist a pot of adobo fresh off the stove, but eat it a day after and notice just how the flavors meld together better. Question is: did you cook enough portions for everyone?
Ready to cook adobo? Here are recipes you can try:
Photography by Ocs Alvarez