Pork Adobo made with succulent pork belly braised in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and onions. A delicious balance of salty and savory, this hearty stew is the Philippines national dish for good reason!
The Filipino adobo is a cooking process or technique where meat, seafood or indigenous vegetables are braised in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar along with aromatics such as garlic, onions, peppercorns, and bay leaves.
As many and as diverse are the islands and dialects in the Philippines are the many ways adobo is prepared. With atsuete, in coconut milk or sweetened with pineapples are just a few versions of this classic Filipino national dish.
Some like the hearty stew with more sauce, while others prefer it simmered dry. Others like it slightly tangy, while some prefer it on the salty side. This recipe is how I like mine, with beautifully seared pork, a rich and thick sauce to spoon over mounds of rice, and enough grease to warrant a visit to a cardiologist.
I prefer to use pork belly in my adobo as I like its melt-in-your-mouth tenderness but you can easily substitute pork shoulder which, although a leaner cut, has enough ribbons of fat to bring equally delicious results.
Tips on How to Make Pork Adobo
- Do not overcrowd the pan when browning the meat so the pork pieces get a good sear. Use a wide pan or cook in batches if necessary. Properly searing the meat before adding the braising liquid is an important step as it gives the dish an incredible depth of flavor.
- Potatoes and hard boiled eggs are a delicious way to extend adobo. Make sure to pan-fry the cut potatoes first before adding to the stew so they’ll keep their shape better.
- Cook off the strong vinegar flavor by allowing it to boil uncovered and without stirring for a good few minutes before adding the soy sauce and water.
- If you want to season the dish with more salt than called for in the recipe, I suggest adding it during the last few minutes of cooking to correctly gauge taste. The flavor of the dish will concentrate as the sauce reduces.
- 2 pounds pork belly, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- In a bowl, combine pork, onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for about 30 minutes.
- In a wide, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add meat mixture and cook, turning occasionally, until pork is lightly browned.
- Add vinegar and allow to boil, uncovered and without stirring, for about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add soy sauce and water and stir to combine. Allow to a boil for another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes or until meat is fork-tender and sauce is reduced. Serve hot.