There are over 3 million Filipinos in the United States, all from different parts of the 7,000 islands, and each family having their own version of this particular dish, the pork adobo. Even within my family there are slight differences in the recipe depending on who you ask. When I called back home to get the recipe, my mom started telling me how to make it, then grandma took the phone from here to chime in and disagree, and then my aunt would chime in with something else. Many Filipinos abroad including myself consider this dish one of the ultimate comfort foods and something that brings them back to the islands of the Philippines, at least for the duration of a meal. I remember helping my mom make this dish several years ago when her brother and his family moved to the states to help them feel at home in a new country. Of course I look forward to eating this whenever we get a chance to see my family. It never fails that right after I open the door, I get a whiff of that combination of sour, salty, sweet, and porky goodness and I know I’m at home. Eventually, I decided to stick with my grandma’s recipe. I think it’s probably safer that way. 🙂
- 3 lbs. pork shoulder roast (Marr’s Valley View Farms)
- 1/3 c. soy sauce
- 2 T. brown sugar
- 1 t. whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 t. ground black pepper
- 3 T. white vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 4 cloves of garlic (Shooting Star Farm)
Trim most of the fat off of the pork shoulder and cut into cubes. Put everything into a bowl except for the oil and garlic. Massage for a couple of minutes to incorporate the marinade. Let it sit for at least 1 hour. It’s best to let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
The meat should be room temperature when you’re ready to cook. Heat up the oil in a pan and fry the chopped garlic gently until slightly golden in color. Add the meat and cook on medium until the juices have evaporated and you’re left with clear oil and the meat is tender. Taste to make sure that the there is a good balance between the salty, sweet, and acid, no one flavor should overpower another. Cooking should take about 40 minutes.
To serve, you have to have some steamed jasmine rice. It wouldn’t be Filipino otherwise. 🙂 My grandpa for example cannot feel properly satisfied unless he has rice with all his meals. Another staple side is a tomato and sweet onion salad with a splash of fish sauce and lemon juice. (The cherry tomatoes and sweet onion are from Shooting Star Farm).
No matter the differences, as long as there’s a pot of it on the stove, everyone can agree that they love this stuff and they can’t get enough of it. What dish signifies home to you?
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.