Here's Everything You Need to Make Adobo

These 5 key ingredients for adobo should be present in every Pinoy pantry!

IMAGE Miguel Nacianceno and Aldwin Aspillera

Keep your pantry stocked with the essentials and you'll never go wrong with your adobo! Make sure you have these to make Pinoy adobo at home. 


1  Whole black peppercorns

Not ground or cracked, but whole. These will give your adobo heat and spice—biting into one provides an instant burst of sharpness, which helps in balancing out the saltiness and acidity of adobo. Buy the completely dried variety with black shriveled skin.


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2  Garlic cloves

Pungent, strong, and utterly delicious garlic cloves are added to adobo to help balance the flavor of the meat and minimize and unfavorable taste from pork or chicken. Once cooked, garlic makes adobo sauce buttery and sweet.


When buying garlic, always choose local and avoid buying bulbs whose cloves have already separated.



3  Bay leaves

This key ingredient is not just for garnish: bay leaves provide earthiness and a subtle tea-like fragrance to the dish. Acting as a foundational aromatic, it helps in mellowing out any overpowering flavors. Remember to rub the leaves lightly before adding them to adobo and make sure the remove these bay leaves before serving.


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4  Soy sauce

While the first versions of Pinoy adobo only used salt and vinegar to flavor the dish, soy sauce has been a well-loved addition to adobo from the influence of Chinese cooking. Soy sauce is used to add umami and richness to adobo, and is the reason behind its deep, dark color.



5  Vinegar

Vinegar is the essential ingredient in adobo: it is the starting point of the dish. Vinegar cooks the meat, enhance its flavor, and helps preserve the dish—which is why adobo tastes even better a few days after it’s been prepared! Remember to not use an overly acidic vinegar as it might overpower the dish. Going for the classics? Use cane, coconut, and rice varieties.


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Article orginally published in the April 2016 issue of Yummy magazine. 

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