Just put all ingredients in a pot, bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. It’s that simple. I figured I might say that because there are so many ways of preparing adobo, and this one doesn’t require sauteing or frying (although frying is still an option). And I say this too because no Pinoy should be deprived of this dish, even if he has no culinary skills.
As far as I know, adobo is of Spanish origin meaning “marinade.” It makes sense because the Spanish colonizers, under the Philippine heat and in a time when refrigerators weren’t standard home fixtures, would immerse meat in salt and vinegar to make them tender and to keep them from spoiling. Eventually we have acquired that hint of vinegar taste, plus the soy sauce brought in by the Chinese, and what we have is a mainstay in our tables that we claim to be our national dish. Best part is you may store it for a long time!
Bear in mind that there are so many variations of this dish. Some would add oyster sauce, some omit the soy sauce. Some put sugar to sweeten it, or even Sprite or 7Up. Some use fish sauce, and I heard that others put gata or coconut cream in them. Don’t forget the many variations of vinegar in the Philippines, so finding out which vinegar to use brings forth another recipe discussion. In my case, the only different thing I do is add a spoonful of worcestershire sauce, and some chicken liver if I remember to pick them up in the grocery.
Please note that I use light soy sauce and light vinegar (since they’re the only ones readily available in the local grocery store) so I use 1/4 cup of light soy sauce and 1/4 cup of light vinegar. You may also do so with Pinoy-grocery found toyo and suka, and halfway through the cooking process give it a taste and determine whether you want it soy sauce salty or vinegary by adding just a teaspoon at a time.
- Pork and Chicken parts up to a kilo. Whole chicken is cheaper. Pork belly is supreme but you may go for any part of that has a some fat and skin. You may also opt to cook just the chicken or just pork. Pork should be cut into blocks of 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches.
- A head of garlic, crushed.
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- a teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- half a cup of water
- a spoon of worcestershire sauce
If using pork only: As explained, put all of them (except water) in a bowl and keep in the fridge overnight. But if pressed for time then marinate for at least an hour in the pot where you’ll be cooking it. Fire it up and add the water. Cook uncovered until it starts to boil. As soon as it boils, lower the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 40 minutes until pork pieces are tender.
If using poultry only: Same as pork, but adjust the cooking time to 25-30 minutes or until chicken is tender.
If using both pork and chicken: Combine everything together except water and marinate overnight otherwise just marinate for an hour. Take out all the chicken parts and set them aside, put all the pork and the rest of the marinade into the pot, add water, and bring to boil uncovered. Once it starts to boil, cover with lid, lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and cook further for 20 minutes while covered or until chicken is tender.
You always have the option of taking out the pork and frying them on a little oil in a pan. Also, you may make it more watery by adding, er, more water, or drier by cooking it uncovered until it is dry enough according to your taste (the water will evaporate but the sauces will pretty much stay). Soon your adobo will have its own distinct character. Good luck!