4 Ways to Cook Adobo Just Like Your Mom Does

Adobo is a quintessential Filipino dish that dates back to the pre-colonial period. Made up of meat that’s marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns, adobo is characterized by its sour-salty and at times sweet flavor profile.

Adobo can be prepared in a number of ways, which is why there is no universal recipe for it. Each family has its own take on this Filipino classic and because it’s something a lot of us have grown up with all our lives, adobo has become a comfort food favorite.

Here, we’re sharing 4 different ways to prepare adobo, as taught by mommy blogger Jenel Laureta (IG: @jenel.laureta). And trust us: it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Check it out!

4 Ways to Cook Adobo Just Like Your Mom Does

4. Chicken and Pork Adobo

Photo by Jenel Laureta (IG: @jenel.laureta)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 kilo of chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 kilo of pork belly, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp of fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, minced
  • 1 tbsp of ground pepper
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 1 to 2 bay leaves
  • 1 to 2 tbsp of cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Water, as needed

Procedure

  1. In a large pan, add your garlic, chicken, and pork. Pour in your white vinegar, fish sauce, peppercorns, bay leaves, and pepper. Mix everything until your meat is fully coated in the sauce.
  2. Let your adobo boil over medium heat. Once it boils, add just enough water to cover the meat.
  3. Lower the heat and let it simmer until the meat is almost tender and the adobo sauce thickens.
  4. Pour out the adobo sauce, and set aside.
  5. Add your cooking oil to the pan. Let the meat brown while stirring constantly, then de-glaze with some water. Repeat twice or thrice until you get the desired brown color on your meat. Don’t worry if some meat falls off the bone— that’s normal.
  6. Add back the adobo sauce and let it simmer.
  7. Season with salt and pepper according to your preference, then mix until well-combined. Serve immediately.

3. Twice-Cooked Pork Belly Adobo

Photo by Jenel Laureta (IG: @jenel.laureta)

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo of pork belly, bone-in
  • 5-7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil
  • Water, as needed

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 5-7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves

Procedure

  1. Marinate your pork belly in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper, peppercorns, and bay leaves for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. In a pot over medium heat, pour in both your marinated pork belly and the marinade. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat and let your adobo simmer.
  3. Add water in increments so the adobo does not dry out. Let it simmer until the pork belly is tender.
  4. Take out the pork belly and fry it in a pan with oil. Cook both sides until it has the sear you’re looking for, then take out and set aside.
  5. Sauté onion, garlic, and chili flakes in the same pan until fragrant. De-glaze the browned bits on the bottom of the pan by adding in your adobo sauce.
  6. Add your fried pork belly back in the pan. Let it simmer with the sauce.
  7. Taste and adjust the sauce by seasoning it depending on how you like it. When satisfied, serve your adobo with garlic rice.

2. Adobong Dilaw (Chicken Adobo sa Luyang Dilaw at Gata)

Photo by Jenel Laureta (IG: @jenel.laureta)

Ingredients

  • 8 to 9 chicken legs, cleaned and drained
  • 1 thumb-sized turmeric (luyang dilaw), sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • 5 to 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp of fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 Tbsp of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 to 2 bay Leaves
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth or water
  • 1/4 cup of coconut cream (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp of cooking oil
  • 1 to 2 pieces of green chili (siling haba), for garnish
  • Salt, to taste

Procedure

  1. Marinate your chicken in the vinegar, ground pepper, whole peppercorns, turmeric powder, garlic, bay leaves, and fish sauce for 2 hours.
  2. Pour your chicken and marinade in a pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add chicken broth or water, along with your coconut milk. Let it simmer over low heat.
  3. Once your chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot. Set the adobo sauce aside.
  4. In a pan with oil, saute your fresh luyang dilaw and ginger until fragrant. Add in your cooked chicken pieces and let them brown.
  5. Pour in the adobo sauce from earlier in the pan. Add your coconut cream and leave to simmer.
  6. Salt and adjust the flavors depending on how you like it.
  7. Garnish with siling haba and serve with steamed rice.

1. Adobong Pula (Beef Ribs Adobo sa Atsuete at Gata)

Photo by Jenel Laureta (IG: @jenel.laureta)

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo of beef ribs
  • 1 tbsp of ginger, minced
  • 5 to 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of achuete powder
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp of chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar (optional)

Marinade

  • 1/2 cups of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 5 medium to large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper

Procedure

  1. Marinate your beef ribs in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and ground pepper for 2 hours.
  2. Brown your marinated beef ribs in an oiled pan over medium to high heat. Only add a few pieces per batch so they don’t overcrowd. Remove from pan when done.
  3. Lower your heat to medium. On the same pan, sauté your ginger, onion, and garlic in that arrangement until fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn.
  4. Add your pan-fried beef ribs then toss in your achuete powder. Mix everything so that the beef is coated in the powder. Let the achuete cook and render its orangey-red color.
  5. Pour the marinade into the pan without mixing. Let the vinegar evaporate.
  6. Add your water, bay leaves, chili flakes (optional), and whole peppercorns. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the beef is tender.
  7. Pour the coconut milk and let it simmer until the sauce thickens.
  8. Give more color to your adobo by adding in more achuete powder. Lower your heat and let the adobo cook further.
  9. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar (optional) depending on how you like it.
  10. Serve over steamed rice.

What’s your family’s adobo recipe? Share it with us in the comments!

(All photos from Jenel Laureta of @jenel.laureta)


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