Look: my basic adobo recipe with cooking tips

I always prepare my basic pork adobo recipe whenever my husband and I travel to visit our coffee farm 10 hours away. As you might know, Adobo keeps well and is best served after a day. Now, there are 101 ways of cooking adobo and we all have our own recipe. I am sharing this recipe because others who have never cooked adobo just want to know how to prepare it the basic way. This is mine and I leave you some tips so you can adjust to your preference.

basic adobo recipe

Here are my ingredients
  • 1 kilo pork belly, cubed (Pork Liempo is best, tastiest and is better with skin-on. When cooked, becomes sticky and gelatin-y and helps thicken the sauce gloriously.)
  • 1/3 cup Marca Piña soy sauce ( this can be reduced to 2-4 tablespoons if you need to add salt in the end)
  • 1/2 cup Marca Piña vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup water or beef broth
  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole peppercorn (Crush peppercorn at the last minute to retain its aroma.)
  • 2-3 pieces dried bay leaves  (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 cloves garlic, crushed (Crush only when about to be used)
  • 1 chopped onions
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • salt to taste (If you add salt, reduce soy sauce proportion to 2 -4 tablespoons)

(Optional: Mix with liver spread or mashed liver. Broiling or roasting liver over coal adds a nutty flavor. I did not add it in my adobo because my husband cannot take liver in his diet)

In cooking adobo, the tip here is to cook the meat in low fire from start to finish (till the meat is tender) and sauce is reduced [Cook uncovered in the last 10 minutes]

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

Let’s start cooking

  1. Heat the oil in a cooking pot.
  2. Add the garlic. Saute until light brown . Then add onions. Not many people like to add onions but I like the sweetish taste of the onions in my adobo
  3. Put the pork belly in the pot. Stir and cook until it turns light brown.
  4. Add the soy sauce and water to the pot. Let boil. Cover and cook in low heat for 30 minutes or reduce until the pork is tender. Add more water if the  liquid starts to evaporate too much. The amount of sauce depends on how you want your adobo to look like. I prefer mine to have little sauce.
  5. Pour-in the Marca Piña vinegar and comtinue to boil. Mix and cook for 10 more minutes. Do not stir vinegar till it has cooked. That is, when all the acid has evaporated. Your nose will tell.
  6.  Taste your adobo if it needs more salt. I find that the Marca Piña soy sauce has adequate salt already. But just add a pinch of salt as it  helps balance the acidity.

In summary, here is how adobo is made:

The “Flow Chart” of Cooking Adobo

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