Tips in Cooking Adobo

Jul 28


My husband is fond of buying me recipe books or any books about food. One such book is The Adobo Book (Traditional & Jazzed Up Recipes) by Reynaldo Gamboa Alejandro and Nancy Reyes-Lumen. Not only do you get recipes of various authors but trivia and essays on adobo. The Personal Styles reflect the cook’s preferences. You should read the more than 100 adobo recipe variations ranging from Pork Adobo in Buco Juice, Adobong Tsino, Microwave Adobo, Fresh Oysters Adobo, Adobo sa beer and so much more.

My daughter who is now based in Germany once asked me how to cook Adobo. I told her there are many ways to cook Adobo, of course. What I’d like to show from the “Adobo Book” are tips for cooking adobo which is entitled the “10+ Commandments in Cooking Adobo”. I am sure you will learn a tip or two even if you have been cooking adobo for years.

1. Pork Liempo is best, tastiest and is better with skin-on. When cooked, becomes sticky and gelatin-y and helps thicken the sauce gloriously.

2. Simmer! Cook meats in low fire from start to finish (till meats are tender) and sauce is reduced [Cook uncovered in the last 10 minutes]

3. The usual ratios are

  • 1 kilo meat (chicken or pork): 1/2 cup native vinegar (reduce accordingly to acidity of vinegar).
  • 1 kilo meat (chicken or pork): 1/2 cup vinegar: 1/4 cup water
  • Soy sauce can range from 2 tablespoon to 4 tablespoon per 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 kilo meat: 1/2 cup vinegar or acid: 1/2 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2-4 tablespoon soy sauce: 5- 10 peppercorns: 1 laurel leaf

4. Cook chicken separately from pork. Flavors come out better. Then combine later when serving.

5. Always have salt in adobo. It helps balance the acidity.

6. Crush peppercorn at the last minute to retain its aroma.

7. 1 medium-sized laurel leaf can add flavor and aroma to 1/2 kilo meat. If you have the chance, use fresh laurel leaves.

8. Garlic. Crush only when about to be used. If left in the marinade overnight, it will lose its strong flavor. Be generous with garlic.

9. Braise meat first in, first out till brown. Then simmer till tender. For a better finish, bake at the last 15 minutes.

10. Mix with liver spread or mashed liver. Broiling or roasting liver over coal adds a nutty flavor.

11. Adobo with gata. Gata can be combined with coco milk and coco cream.

12. Do not stir vinegar till it has cooked. That is, when all the acid has evaporated. Your nose will tell.

13. Cook covered and on low heat (also called simmering)

14. The “Flow Chart” of Cooking Adobo

Marinate –> braise–> simmer –> tenderize –> fry –> reduce –> keep for a day –> serve!

I bet you didn’t know all of the above tips. I must admit that I wasn’t aware of Tip number 10 where you add liver for a nutty flavor.

When it comes to the adobo dish on regular basis, I serve 3 variations of adobo: the Classic Adobo Recipe, the Chicken Adobo in coconut cream and White Adobo.

What about you? How many adobo dishes do you regularly cook?

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Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (367 Posts)

Noemi, Editor of Blog Watch and features editor of Philippine Online Chronicles is a 55 year old mother to three kids and is married to Atty. Luis H. Dado. She loves being a full time mother and homemaker after retiring as a Researcher/Consultant from the UP Institute for Small Scale Industries in 1987. Now that her children are all college graduates, she devotes her time to grief support, blogging, new media events and using her blogs to promote online advocacies. Her personal blog is at aboutmyrecovery.com, which garnered numerous awards such as Best Website, Blog Category during the 9th and 10th Philippine Web Awards. Her blog also won in the Blog- Personal Category of the DigitalFilipino.com Web Awards 2007 and Globelines Broadband Family Blog Award (in honor of family-oriented blogging) 2007 Philippine Blog Award. Globe also recognized her as Digital Elder in the 2009 Philippine Blog Award.


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  • http://onadietdaw.blogspot.com Ria

    I never knew there was so much to adobo :-) I like mine super saucy though :-)

    Rias last blog post..Taking it Seriously.

  • noemi

    my favorite is chicken adobo with coconut milk.

  • http://raincontreras.com rain

    We’ve always had thrice-cooked adobo, and I cook it now as well. I sometimes put in diced potatoes and/or pork liver as well. My mom would sometimes put in isaw, the sort you see fried for chicharon bulaklak :)

    rains last blog post..Taking A Stance

  • noemi

    yeah like the photo above, I added potatoes (fried) as accent to an otherwise brown colored dish. It adds “spice”. The isaw variation tastes yummy too.

  • http://www.jodiana.wordpress.com jodiana

    i know how to cook a sumptuous caldereta but i don’t know how to cook an adobo. I will definitely try your adobo recipe.

    i didn’t know that you can put mashed liver to adobo.

    jodianas last blog post..Novartis completes first batch of Swine Flu vaccine

  • http://redjasmineblog.blogspot.com/ Red Jasmine

    your adobo photo/recipe reminds me of how i love adobo. who (filipinos at least) doesn’t love adobo? thanks for the post.

    Red Jasmines last blog post..Recipe: Garlic Sauce

  • http://www.proudlyfilipina.com Mica

    The Adobo Book! Wow, so much interesting info! I’ve bookmarked this page. I never get tired of adobo. It’s the perfect comfort food!

  • http://symptomsofflu.org Kristin

    Mmm, these look delicious. I know what I’m having Sunday.
    .-= Kristin´s last blog ..Flu – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment =-.

  • http://www.bestpressurecookerreviews.com/ Martha

    Wow…I did learned a lot from this post. I am in search for a good adobo recipe because my husband is craving for an adobo dinner…thanks for posting it…I never knew that liempo would be the best cut for this.
    .-= Martha´s last blog ..Pressure Cooking Recipes =-.

  • msanti31

    after years of cooking adobo, hands down, liempo is the best cut of pork to be cooked with the recipe. the tenderness of the meat after simmering cannot compare to the classic pigue or kamto. I prefer the classic dry adobo though, when the sauce has dried out and the fat just oozes in the sauce then fries the meats until it’s flaky. but I set aside some of the sauce before it dries out because the kids love it. thanks for the cooking tips @momblogger!

  • MaryArlene

    more or less we have the same recipe of Adobo…i love cooking too… i love to experiment new recipes…i cooked Adobo same way you did but i added turmeric…it ‘s good try it.

  • MaryArlene

    hey yummy adobo….4ever fave of my family…try adding turmeric w ur gata….yum yum yummy…my kids love it sooo much….even the chicken adobo w turmeric & gata w siling labuyo….4get the diet, postpone it when it’s adobo, anytime go… go… go… tara na kain na!

  • http://www.bestqualityrugs.com/bestqualityrugs.html roni

    My mom is an expert cook of chicken adobo. I really love it especially when she adds sugar.

  • MaryArlene

    i cooked adobo lunch time …am not suppose to eat a lot coz of cholesterol in it …anyway it was really very tempting to the eyes & the smell so yummy nkakagana amoy palang….huhuhu…iput a lot of spices; luya & siling labuyo, black pepper, lots of garlic to combat the cholesterol hahaha i usually add the vinegar when the meat is already tender then sugar to neutralize the acidity….oh so yummy…the rice was so kulang eh… l mean you really consume so much rice …(diet pospone muna)…so so sinful food…masarap eh!!!what can i do?

  • rosalinda

    my husband really likes adobo for dinner,next time im gonna cook it w/liver..we have lots of potatoes here in baguio city so,it wld be beter to add veggie..kain n rn ng fruits rich in fiber after,hrap na..iwas cholesterol!hehe

  • rosalinda

    my husband really likes adobo,specially chicken..im gonna cook it w/liverspread next time,i haven’t tried it..we have lots of potatoes here in bguio city so wld be better 2 put some veggie..kain n lng ng fruits rich in fiber aftr..hirap na! iwas cholesterol po..hehe

  • http://fudetchetera.blogspot.com gil flores

    I will try your adobo and by the way nice site. I just made my blogsite this month if you guys have time pls visit me. fudetchetera.blogspot.com
    .-= gil flores´s last blog ..Japanese Curry =-.

  • cheekeegirl

    I love adobo! all-time fave

  • food lover

    Na surprise ako sa mga Tips lalo na sa Tip number 10. Nakaka curious kung anong kalalabasan ng lasa kaya naman susubukan ko yun kapag nagluto ako ng adobo. Sobrang nagka idea ako kung paano magluto ng perfect adobo. Salamat sa pagbibigay ng mga tips naging madali para sa first timer na kagaya ko ang magluto ng pamosong adobo. Ano pa pong mga techniques ang pede niyong i-share para sa mga baguhan sa paglulutong kagaya ko? :) Salamat sa mga tips. More power at God bless po! :)