Pork Adobo

For the life of me I couldn’t replicate my mother’s adobo. It amazes me how she can cook the same adobo without measuring anything. I’ve been cooking adobo the same way she does but gets different result everytime, sometimes it’s good, other times blah. My family doesn’t get excited over my adobo because it’s so inconsistent.

My mom makes her adobo by boiling the meat in adobo marinade until there’s barely liquid left. Pretty simple but mine somehow either tasted too vinegar-y or salty. I really wanted my adobo to tastes like hers.

My husband suggested I measure the ingredients so I can work on the vinegar-soy sauce balance, now why didn’t I think of that? I followed his suggestion, I started measuring my adobo ingredients (the soy sauce and vinegar) , I tried different ratios of vinegar to soy sauce, I even try adding a little brown sugar to promote caramelization just like my husband’s aunt’s adobo which is great too (love it!) but it’s not what I’m after.

I tried a different approach, I tried sauteeing the meat first and let it brown and caramelized before I put the seasonings and water and let it simmer. I’m happy to say that it worked, it tastes really good. It still is not my mom’s adobo but close enough for me., sort of but at least the taste is more balanced now and consistent. I’m quite happy with this recipe, of course I will not stop my adobo experiment until I get it really right.


my version

1/2 kilo or 500g (approx) pork belly, sliced into cubes( I sometimes add in some kasim or pork shoulder part)
1/3 cup soysauce
1/4 cup vinegar
laurel leaves (2-3 pcs)
a head of garlic ( small), peeled, crushed and minced
peppercorns about 1/2 teaspoon
olive oil for sauteeing
1/2 water

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil or any cooking oil in a saucepan. Saute garlic and pork, season with a little ground black pepper and pinch of salt. Cook until browned, then add soysauce and vinegar, dont’ stir (we were always told not to “disturb” the vinegar, let it boil first so it will not be too tart) let it come to a boil first before stirring.

Add half cup of water, laurel leaves and peppercorns. Bring to a boil then lower heat to simmer and cook until meat is tender and it barely has liquid left, if the meat is not tender yet, add a little more water and cook again, keep on repeating it until the meat has reached the desired tenderness. It takes about half an hour.

Happy Cooking!


3 Responses to "Pork Adobo"

  1. Crystal   November 3, 2009 at 10:10 am

    I thought adobo was with chilli. Is it not used in the Philipines or am I confusing my spices?

    • Olive   November 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

      Hi, Crystal 🙂

      Adobo traditionally doesn’t have chillies, the only ingredients for adobo are: garlic (lots of it), vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaf, black pepper corns and the meat of course; but you can spice it up with cayenne powder or red chilli pepper flakes, like what I did with spicy chicken adobo.. I haven’t tried using fresh chillies though.


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