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So, today I decided to cook adobo for lunch. Of all the recipes I would be experimenting on, adobo’s the most intimidating to me. If you’re Pinoy, you might ask, “Isn’t it the easiest?” Right, but adobo is my most favorite of all my mom’s cooking. I have tried the poshest and simplest adobo dishes but nothing, not even my own version, would compare to my mom’s.
I guess it’s because my mom’s adobo has this secret ingredient—love. Naks!
OR either laway or her own tongue, as she would always joke when we compliment her meals.
Anyway, before this post ends up in tears I would like to share my own version of adobo. I’d also like to consistently post about recipes here in my blog that you can easily do even if you’ve only got a mini-kitchen like mine–that means an electric stove and about 2 meters of space to cook on. One of the most difficult things about living solo is getting hungry and craving home-cooked food at the same time. This experience can turn out to be an existential question as to your purpose in life. When your stomach rumbles yet you cannot not forsake your palate’s request of a hot good meal that doesn’t equal to take out, you’ve got a big problem resting upon the palm of your hands.
To prove how easy it is to prepare adobo, here’s a list of things I was able to do while cooking it:
– Create this blog post.
– Cleanup my room.
– Remove the dried up laundry (winter jackets, scarves) off the hamper.
– Take out the trash.
– Wash and store the chopping board, knife, and other cooking prep paraphernalia.
– Take pictures of how I cooked adobo without actually staining my phone.
I suppose you can throw in your own varieties when you decide to cook it yourself. Maybe you’ll be able to watch a movie, skydive, hike a mountain, who knows. The point is that adobo is incredibly easy you don’t have to be a pro to learn it.
And if you are a Filipino, I seriously believe that you must know how to make it. It is your duty as a citizen of the Philippines. Charot.
So, here we go.
Preparing the ingredients
For the meat, I used one slab of pork belly. You would typically find this as a long strip of porky goodness so make sure you slice them into smaller pieces for adobo. If you’re in the Philippines, you wouldn’t have any difficulty finding an adobo cut. But if you are abroad, you can also substitute pork belly (if unavailable) with small pork cutlets. I would recommend pork cuts with some fat because among the key ingredients to adobo’s flavor is its fatty juicy goodness.

You can also substitute pork with chicken or beef. Or seafood, so they say. Or mix them altogether. But since those meats have different varieties of cooking, it would be a little bit more complicated to prepare them. Timing is everything.
For the marinade, here’s the list of what I used.
NOTE: The following ingredients are good for 2-3 servings only. You might need to adjust the amount depending on the quantity of your servings.
– 4 cloves of garlic, sliced into two
– a dash of ground black pepper
– 2 pieces of bay leaves
– a dash of worcestershire sauce
– ¼ cup of soy sauce
– ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
– ½ cup of water
Mix them all in a deep container and then taste. Taste your marinade before you place in the meat so that you can still adjust the flavors to your liking. Make sure you use a teaspoon to do that. While it seems cool to dip a finger and taste it, it’s just plain unhygienic to me.
So after you have mixed all the ingredients in a container, tasted it and adjusted as needed, dip in the pork and then cover the marinade. Let it sit for about 30-45 minutes.
The cooking process
Heat the pan and then add in about a tablespoon of olive oil. It should be just enough for sautéing.
Get the pork off the marinade and place it on the heated pan with the olive oil, but make sure you set aside the marinade. You will add that in later. In the meantime, let the pork cook in the oil for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring it around.
When the pork gets a bit browned, add 3 teaspoons of brown sugar. This will help caramelize the pork and balance the salty-sour flavor of the marinade. You can also add the sugar in the marinade but I prefer it this way to help caramelize the sugar. 
Cover and let the sugar melt onto the pork for about 5 minutes.
Add in the marinade then cover the pan. Let the whole thing simmer for about 45 minutes.
You may check on your adobo occasionally and also stir it to make sure the pieces of pork are entirely simmered in the cooking marinade. Make sure you let it sit there simmering while the pan is covered to let the flavors cook inside and also prevent you from alerting the smoke alarm of your apartment. 😛
After simmering, you now have your mighty fine oohlala deliciously delightful adobo!
Some extra bonus
Adobo can be very flavorful and I recommend a side dish to help even out its richness. I just dice some tomatoes, chill it, then boil an egg in my rice cooker. 
Once the adobo is cooked, remove the shell off the boiled egg and place beside a steaming serving of rice. The egg and tomatoes combine with adobo smoothly, also helping wash your palate from the adobo’s sauce.

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