PORK ADOBO


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According to the Basic Principles of Genetics, the genotype (made up of 2 alleles, one from each parent) is the set of genes in our DNA which is responsible for a particular trait.  The phenotype is the physical expression of that trait.  The Human Genome: A User’s Guide  further explained this with an analogy that uses a cake recipe to represent the genotype,  and the resulting cake as the phenotype.  If the recipe is your genetic disposition – what your DNA says you can be, then the cake is what you actually are – your reality.  Basically, it just means that while you have the potential to have blue or green colored eyes, or the potential to be a dessert covered in icing or fondant, in the end the dominant allele will manifest in your appearance.  The recessive allele sits in there until it is passed on to your offspring.

 

A good explanation as to how the post man may not be your dad after all, if you are the ginger child of two blonde parents.  Unless your dad really is a post man.

 

Anyway, it’s all very confusing.   A lot of chapters in the book went over my head because… Science.  But my main take away from all the stuff I read about heredity, is that the amount of pure information that passes unchanged from generation to generation is truly scary shit.   I mean, hello, what if I had an ancestor who liked to run naked in public?  Or was a genocidal maniac like Hitler or Stalin.  Or worse, collected Michael Bolton albums.

 

My other thought was, mmmmmmn… CAKE.

 

I’m quite familiar with the idea of a recipe that gets passed on from generation to generation.  But in a more literal sense.  Like, written in ink. And if there is one dish in the Philippines that has been faithfully bestowed upon one family member to the next, it would be Adobo.  Sure, there’s as much Adobo recipes as many as there are islands in the country.   Probably more.   But try asking a Filipino about their Adobo, and you’ll get answers varying from It’s my mother’s recipe to My mother’s father’s recipe that I tweaked a little bit.  Sometimes, you’ll get My grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother’s recipe from colonial times.

 

The recipe I’m sharing today is not one of those.

 

Are you kidding me?!  When I was growing up, my mom couldn’t be trusted to be left by herself in a kitchen.  That woman would’ve burn water if it’s possible.  Fortunately, anyone can cook.  It’s not necessarily a DNA imprint.

 

Unfortunately, obsessive behavior regarding cleanliness and placing everything in straight angles are.  Yikes.

 

Soy Sauce, vinegar & garlic.  The key triumvirate for this dish.   You have these and  you’re mostly ready to go.  Adobo is versatile and any meat goes well with it.   It’s nostalgically (for me, anyway) delicious, and the left-overs taste even better.   As a matter of fact, I shred the meat with a fork and make Adobo Carnitas Tacos the next day.   The sauce makes for a yummy fried rice addition too.   And while this recipe I’ve used isn’t a family heirloom, enshrined in laminated banana leaves, or whatever it is they used in the past,  it is a tried-and-tested one I’ve used for years.   I  make adjustments every now and again, depending if I’m in the mood for Adobo that’s salty (more soy sauce), sour (more vinegar), or sweet (more sugar).

 

Who knows, maybe I’ll pass it on to my son.   This and the ability to read anything upside down.

 

 

 

 

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INGREDIENTS:

Olive Oil
1 kg.  Pork Belly
1 head Garlic, crushed
1/2 cup, Vinegar
1/2 cup, Dark Soy Sauce
1 1/2 TSP.  Ground Pepper (or 1 TSP.  Peppercorns)
1 TSP.   5-Spice
3 TBSP.  Brown Sugar
Bay Leaves

 

 

 

 

 

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine the soy sauce and vinegar in bowl.  Set aside.

(It’s a bit tough taking photos lately.  My boy is curious about EVERY FREAKING THING.   Specially breakable stuff)

porkAdobo_07  porkAdobo_08

 

 

 

Unwrap the package of pork belly, and cut them into 2cm. cubes.
Except for slabs of fat.  I cut those in thick chunks so I could easily take them out at the end of cooking.

Dump them all in a huge bowl or bag, then pour over the soy sauce and vinegar marinade.  Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.

porkAdobo_03  porkAdobo_04

 

 

 

Next day, or whenever you decided to take the meat out of the fridge, fry the pork belly in olive oil until brown crusts form on the surface.  Don’t over cook, a few minutes is all you need if the stove temperature is on high.  Save the marinade for later.

You have the option to use a large pan, then just transfer later to a medium or large pot.  I just grabbed a medium-sized stock pot, and did everything from there.  It took me 2 batches to accomplish this step because it was a bit crowded in that pot.  Set the fried pork aside somewhere.

 

In the meantime, still on high, throw the crushed garlic into the pot and cook until fragrant.

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Pour in the marinade, then bring back the meat.

Add the water after.

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Spoon in the pepper and brown sugar.

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Add the bay leaves, then leave to boil on high heat.

After boiling,  decrease the stove temp to really low.  Bit of a simmer.  Then cover the pot with a lid.  Slow cook for at least 2 to 3 hours.

Now is the time to watch a couple of episodes of The Walking Dead or NarcosThe Kadarshians even, but why would you?  Why?

porkAdobo_14  porkAdobo_15

 

 

 

After a depressing marathon of Pablo Escobar trafficking cocaine and blowing up shit in Colombia, turn off the telly and get back in the kitchen, cabron!

(I think I just called everyone an asshole in Spanish.  I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t meant it!  I got carried away, I love that show!)

You can choose to leave the Adobo as a stew, unless you prefer a thicker sauce.  Then just shove the meat to the side, dial up the heat again, and let the liquids bubble and seethe with the lid off.   I just take the meat out, then when the sauce is as thick as I want it to be, I return the meat back in the pot.  Tedious, but I hate to risk the meat drying out in the process.

porkAdobo_16  porkAdobo_18

 

 

There you go, luscious, luscious Adobo.   Serve this Filipino Classic with white rice.  You won’t regret it.

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Variation:

Serve on a bed of jasmine rice with quail eggs.

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Serves: 4

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PORK ADOBO
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 kg. Pork Belly
  • 1 head Garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup, Vinegar
  • ½ cup, Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1½ TSP. Ground Pepper (or 1 TSP. Peppercorns)
  • 1 TSP. 5-Spice
  • 3 TBSP. Brown Sugar
  • 5 Bay Leaves
Instructions
  1. Combine the soy sauce and vinegar in bowl. Set aside.
  2. Unwrap the package of pork belly, and cut them into 2cm. cubes.
  3. Dump them all in a huge bowl or bag, then pour over the soy sauce and vinegar marinade. Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
  4. Next day, or whenever you decided to take the meat out of the fridge, fry the pork belly in olive oil until brown crusts form on the surface. Don’t over cook, a few minutes is all you need if the stove temperature is on high. Save the marinade for later.
  5. You have the option to use a large pan, then just transfer later to a medium or large pot. I just grabbed a medium-sized stock pot, and did everything from there. It took me 2 batches to accomplish this step because it was a bit crowded in that pot. Set the fried pork aside somewhere.
  6. In the meantime, still on high, throw the crushed garlic into the pot and cook until fragrant.
  7. Pour in the marinade, then bring back the meat. Add the water after.
  8. Spoon in the pepper and brown sugar.
  9. Add the bay leaves, then leave to boil on high heat.
  10. After boiling, decrease the stove temp to really low. Bit of a simmer. Then cover the pot with a lid. Slow cook for at least 2 to 3 hours.
  11. After a depressing marathon of Pablo Escobar trafficking cocaine and blowing up shit in Colombia, turn off the telly and get back in the kitchen.
  12. You can choose to leave the Adobo as a stew, unless you prefer a thicker sauce. Then just shove the meat to the side, dial up the heat again, and let the liquids bubble and seethe with the lid off. I just take the meat out, then when the sauce is as thick as I want it to be, I return the meat back in the pot. Tedious, but I hate to risk the meat drying out in the process.
  13. There you go, luscious, luscious Adobo. Serve this Filipino Classic with white rice. You won’t regret it.
Notes
Serve on a bed of jasmine rice with quail eggs.

 

 

 

 

 

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