Filipino Pork Adobo

We found this recipe for Pork Adobo whilst flicking through one of our favourite recipe books for inspiration (Around The World in 120 Recipes by Allegra McEvedy, which we’ve wanged on about before). Adobo-ing refers to the process of cooking meat in vinegar and soy, along with plenty – and we mean a serious amount – of garlic. It’s not just pork that can be Adobo’d, either – chicken, fish and veg are often cooked in the same way. This dish has some really big flavours, but we found it to be totally delicious, and nowhere near as scary as the ingredients appear. The original recipe is available in full on the BBC website.

Pork Adobo is considered by many to be the national dish of the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan recently put the Philippines on the front pages of the news around the world, and the humanitarian situation there is still desperate. At least 5,000 people died in the worst storm in the country’s history, and many times more have been displaced or affected. Scroll to the bottom of the post to find out how you can help.

Thats a lot of garlic!
Thats a lot of garlic!
A great topping, adds lots of texture too!
A great topping, adds lots of texture too!

We started off by preparing the garlic – all 5 cloves, which is a lot between 2. Half of this is basically deep-fried in groundnut oil, before being set aside to be used as a topping for the finished dish. The belly pork is then added to the oil and left to brown, stirring occasionally, until it pretty much sticks to the pan. It’ll look delicious once it starts to brown, so don’t be hasty.

Pork belly will be wonderfully tender when cooked
Pork belly will be wonderfully tender when cooked

The veg (a red onion and a green or red pepper) is then added along with the rest of the garlic and a good chunk of grated ginger. Foodie tip here – keep some portions of ginger in the freezer, just in case. It makes it really easy to grate, and it also makes really good lemon and ginger tea. Leave the veg to soften for about 7 or 8 minutes. Stir in about half a teaspoon of paprika for some smokiness. Now for the liquids – 250 ml water, about half that of white wine vinegar and half again of light soy sauce. That’s a lot of flavour! Don’t panic though, it really mellows with cooking. Throw in a few bay leaves and some whole peppercorns, and you’re pretty much done. Bring to a good simmer and leave to cook with the lid off for about an hour – you want the liquid to reduce to a much thicker consistency.

Pork Adobo In Pan

Put some plain white rice on to cook about 10 minutes before the pork is done, and there you have it. This was our first time attempting Filipino food, and we will definitely be trying it again – it was absolutely delicious.


Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by Typhoon Haiyan, as they try to rebuild their lives. If you want to help, you can donate via the Oxfam website.

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