How to Cook Adobo - A Filipino Classic 2023



Adobo is a beloved Filipino dish that boasts a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, and slightly tangy flavors. It's a culinary gem that's deeply rooted in Filipino culture and is enjoyed by people all over the world. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the process of making this delectable dish, exploring its history, and regional variations, and offering step-by-step instructions for creating your own mouthwatering adobo.

Part 1: Understanding Adobo

1.1. History and Origins

Adobo's history can be traced back to the Philippines' pre-colonial era when indigenous people preserved meat with vinegar and salt. Over time, the Spanish influence added garlic, and the Chinese introduced soy sauce. This fusion resulted in the adobo we know today.

1.2. Regional Variations

Adobo is incredibly diverse, with regional variations throughout the Philippines. Some are dry, some have a sauce, and others incorporate unique ingredients like coconut milk or annatto seeds. Common regional variations include Chicken Adobo, Pork Adobo, and Adobong Kangkong (water spinach).

Part 2: Ingredients

2.1. Traditional Ingredients

To make a classic adobo, you'll need:

  • 2 lbs of meat (chicken, pork, or a combination)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Cooking oil
  • 2.2. Optional Ingredients

Feel free to customize your adobo with ingredients like potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, or coconut milk for a unique twist.

Part 3: Cooking Steps

3.1. Preparation

  • Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a large bowl, combine the meat, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and black peppercorns. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight for enhanced flavor).

3.2. Stovetop Cooking

  • Heat some oil in a large pan.
  • Sauté the marinated meat until it's browned.
  • Add the marinade, water, bay leaves, and onions.
  • Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the meat is tender.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste.

3.3. Optional Additions

If you want a thicker sauce, you can remove the meat and reduce the liquid by simmering it longer.

Add peeled, halved hard-boiled eggs or potatoes to the simmering sauce for a delightful twist.

Part 4: Serving and Enjoying

Serve your adobo with steamed rice or even garlic-fried rice (sinangag).

Garnish with chopped green onions or fried garlic for extra flavor.

A side of pickled papaya (atchara) complements the dish beautifully.


Adobo is more than just a dish; it's a reflection of Filipino culture and history. By following this guide, you can recreate this iconic Filipino meal in your own kitchen. Whether you prefer chicken, pork, or a combination of both, adobo is sure to captivate your taste buds with its rich, complex flavors. So, don your apron, gather your ingredients, and embark on a culinary journey to savor the taste of the Philippines through this delightful adobo recipe.

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