Saturday, April 30, 2011

Recipe for Pork Adobo (Pork Cooked in a Pickling Style as in the Phillipines)

This Filipino recipe is pork that's marinated with vinegar and soy sauce, simmered, and then browned.

(This revisited recipe was updated with new photos and better directions in April 2011.)  In the Phillipines, there is a style of cooking commonly called Adobo, in which chicken, pork, or most often a combination of the two are cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, and water, which has been seasoned with lots of garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper. Then the meat is browned or even grilled, and served with the cooking liquid, which is reduced to a tasty thick brown sauce. I've seen recipes for this in many different places, but when this recipe appeared in my local newspaper back in 2005, I decided to give it a try.

The recipe credit in the paper says "Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Step-by-Step Cooking" and then I adapted it more when I made it in 2005 and again when I revisited the recipe, so perhaps it may not be that authentic any more.  But authentic or not, this was seriously delicious. By the way, don't confuse the word Adobo in this recipe from the Mexican  sauce or spice blend that has the same name.  And if you want to see how much my photo skills have improved, scroll down past the step-by-step photos and you'll see why this recipe needed a new photo!

I used pork sirloin chops, which I trimmed well and cut into cubes.  (Remember the guideline for 10% fat or less if you're making this for the South Beach Diet.)

The flavorful marinade is a mixture of garlic, soy sauce, white vinegar, vegetable oil, bay leaves, black pepper, and just a touch of Splenda or sugar.

Marinate the pork cubes for a few hours in the refrigerator.

Then put the marinade and pork in a pan that's small enough to keep the pork pieces fairly submerged in the liquid, add 1/2 cup water, then cover and simmer on low until the pork is very tender, about 30-45 minutes.

I turned the pork cubes once and this is how they looked part-way through cooking.

When the pork cubes are tender add a little oil to a heavy pan, heat, and quickly brown the pork pieces on high.  (If the heat is too low, it will toughen the meat; you want to barely brown the outside.)

While the meat browns, turn the heat to high under the marinade mixture, remove bay leaves, and let it boil until it's reduced by about half.  This sauce is great over rice, or just put it over the pork cubes if you'd like to eat this for phase one.  (If you have a fat separator, you can use it to remove some of the fat before you reduce the sauce.)

And here is the original photo from this post in 2005, ugh.  I did enjoy eating this back then, but I'm happy the recipe has new photos so you can see how tasty it is!

Pork Adobo (Pork Cooked in a Pickling Style as in the Phillipines)
Makes about 6 servings, original recipe adapted from Madhur Jaffrey and then adapted more by Kalyn)

1 1/2 lb. pork sirloin chops
1/2 cup water
1 T vegetable oil

12 cloves garlic, finely chopped  (I used 2 T minced garlic from a jar, you could use less if you aren't crazy about garlic)
6 T soy sauce
6 T white vinegar
2 T vegetable oil (don't use less, this keeps the sauce from being too strong)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp. Splenda or sugar (use Splenda for South Beach Diet)

Trim the pork sirloin chops so most of the fat is removed, then cut chops into chunks about 1 1/2 to 2 inches.  Put pork cubes in a small plastic bag or a plastic container with a snap-tight lid.

In a glass measuring cup, combine minced garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, 2 T oil, bay leaves, ground black pepper, and Splenda.  Pour this mixture over the pork cubes, seal the plastic bag or container, and refrigerate for a few hours.

After pork has marinated for a few hours, put pork cubes and marinating liquid into a pan that's small enough so the meat is mostly submerged, add 1/2 cup water, and bring to a low simmer. Cover, be sure heat is very low and simmer gently until the meat is tender, about 30-45 minutes.  (I turned the pork cubes once after 30 minutes.)

When the meat is very tender, heat the other tablespoon of oil in a large heavy pan, add pork cubes, and quickly brown using high heat.  (If the heat is too low, it will toughen the meat; you want to barely brown the outside.)  While the meat browns, turn the heat to high under the marinating liquid and boil until it's reduced by about half.  You can use a spoon or fat separator to remove some of the fat from the sauce.  Serve hot, with rice on the side if desired.

(Since I changed the directions for this recipe quite a bit from the original version, I'm going to leave the link to the Printer Friendly Recipe for the original version posted in 2005 in case anyone had that recipe bookmarked.)

South Beach Suggestions:
Remember the guideline to use meat with 10% fat or less if you're making this  for the South Beach Diet.  For phase one, this would be great simply served with Mary's Perfect Salad and a vegetable side dish such as Roasted Broccoli with Garlic. For phase two or three, add something like Georgette's Really Lemony Greek Pilafi or Lake Powell Spicy Rice, or even plain brown rice to serve the sauce over.

More Cooks Like Pork or Chicken Adobo:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Chicken Adobo from Kalyn's Kitchen
Filipino Pork Adobo from House of Annie
Beef Oxtail Adobo from Apple Pie, Patis, and Pate
Pork Adobo from Appetite for China
Fast and Easy Chicken Adobo from One Perfect Bite
Steamy Kitchen's Chicken Adobo from Burnt Lumpia
Chicken Adobo from The Asian Grandmother's Cookbook
Pork Adobo from Off the (Meat)hook
The Best Pork Adobo from Market Manila
Chicken Adobo from Nook and Pantry
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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  1. Thanks, Kalyn, I'm liking the sound of this! I'm gonna try it this weekend!

  2. YAY! Your recipes are the best, and I'm reminded that Filipino food can be South Beach friendly--you just have to think about it! This recipe can also work for chicken, or a combo of the two--the way that my parents make it.

  3. Eugene, thanks for the feedback, and I keep thinking about making it again (to get a better photo!). Next time I'd love to try chicken and pork.

  4. Oh Yum, I'm glad that Adobong baboy is part of the South Beach diet - it's one of my favorite filipino dishes and so easy to make. Now this needs to be eaten with rice...I guess 1/2 cup of brown rice would be good? Baby bok choy goes well as a side dish. Also to extend the life of the Adobo, we add some hard boiled eggs which tastes so yummy after soaking in the adobo liquid.

  5. Pinoy food blogger here...yep Adobo can be done just like the way you've made it..that's really can also add potatos and that will make it tastes even better..keep up the good work!

  6. Thanks to the Pinoy bloggers for the feedback! I really need to make this again and take better photos!

  7. Hi Kalyn! We had your "Pork Cooked in a Pickling Style" tonight and it was FANTASTIC!! I wrote a post about it, which you can view over here. Thanks for the great recipe!

  8. Hello! It's very thrilling to know that our Adobo is a Southbeach dish and is appreciated by you!
    I am a Filipino blogger and have just very recently decided to try out SBD for a healthier lifestyle. Of course, out of the 7107 islands of the country, there are thousands of versions of the dish, but you were able to capture a popular method of making it.
    Personally, I dont add any sweetener and just 'encourage' the natural sugars to come out by panfrying it twice. The first time is when the marinated meat is placed on a heated pan, and browned before the addition of the marinade or any other ingredient and second, after all is done and we are about ready to serve, I separate the cooked meat and panfry it. The sauce is then served on the sider sometimes poured over the twice-cooked meat. Trust me, its heavenly!
    A friend of mine even shreds the cooked meat prior to frying it the second time.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe and all the other helpful information in your site.More power!

  9. Mrs. A, I have to make this again and take a new photo, but I still remember how delicious it was. I do wish I could taste the real thing!

  10. One of the recipes that came with my All-
    Clad slow cooker was a chicken adobo, and it's the first dish I ever made in a slow cooker. Delicious, and I imagine the pork adobo is delicious, too.

  11. Awesome marinade, Kalyn. Thanks for introducing me to adobo.

  12. Lydia, would love to try it in a slow cooker.

    Nisrine, so glad I could introduce you to something you haven't tried!

  13. Haha on the original photo, amazing how much we grow and change isn't it? This sounds really, really good, I'm bookmarking it for later! :)

  14. Amanda, that may have been one of the worst photos on my blog (although there are plenty of other bad ones as well.) Hope you enjoy the recipe.

  15. This looks delicious and healthy! Can't wait to try it.

  16. Thanks Lauren. Hope you enjoy it.

  17. I adore pork and have been wanting to try something along the adobo line, but haven't. This is going on my must try roster. Since it's grilling season, I might skewer the pork, brush it with a little oil and grill it over high heat. Think that will work with this recipe?

  18. CJ, I think grilling will work, but remember the meat is already well done so just grill enough to get it a little browned. (Or you could probably marinate longer and just grill. It wouldn't quite be Adobo if you do it that way, but I bet it would be good!)

  19. I was going to ask about doing this in a slow cooker, and Lydia's comment has answered my question. Interesting technique frying meat pieces at end. I've never seen that before.

  20. Barbara I think you could do the simmering stage in a slow cooker, but you'd need to reduce the sauce much longer at the end. I think in the Phillipines the meat is sometimes grilled instead of frying. I found quite a few variations for this recipe when I was re-doing it.

  21. I've been looking for ways to cook pork since it's cheaper than beef. My husband claims he doesn't like pork, but oh my he liked this. Thanks!

  22. Jeanie, glad it was a hit!

  23. That's not how us Filipino's cook it. But, it is a good recipe, it still turns out really good.

  24. Oh yes, I realize it's not authentic but I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  25. Delicious. I hope people find this oldie but goodie on your blog.

    1. Thanks Jodie, so glad you enjoyed it!


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