Adobo is a world-famous meat dish associated with being a Filipino.
The typical Filipino adobo consists of pork and/or chicken cooked in garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaf, ground pepper and water. There are versions, though, that have brown sugar, star anise, oyster sauce , eggs , bananas (saba). In fact, there are hundreds of variations of the recipe to suit anyone's palate.
While pork and chicken are among the most preferred meats for adobo, enthusiasts use anything from beef (adobong baka), squid or cuttlefish (adobong pusit), duck (adobong itik), to goat (adobong kambing). The more adventurous opt for more exotic choices that are a bit too much for my taste like frogs and mole crickets.
Those who prefer to stick to mainstream choices can also go for variants that include adobong hipon (using shrimp), adobong isda (fish), and adobong hito (catfish), If you prefer, there's adobong atay at balunbalunan (chicken liver and gizzard).
Vegetables can also be cooked as adobo, like water spinach (adobong kangkong), bamboo shoots (adobong labong), eggplant (adobong talong), banana flowers (adobong pusô ng saging), and okra (adobong okra).
In the Bicol region, where I'm from, it is not uncommon for homes to prepare adobo cooked with coconut milk (known as adobo sa gatâ). This is only one of the many regional variants. Those from Cavite, add mashed pork liver. From Laguna, we have adobong dilaw, "yellow adobo", with the added turmeric giving it it's yellowish color.
With adobo gaining more popularity, chefs have given it their own twists, coming up with fusion recipes that enhance the Filipino adobo's reputation in the international scene.
The traditional Pinoy adobo however remains as popular as ever particularly among Filipino expats. Every individual or family has their own unique recipe. Some guard their recipes as family secrets, passed from generation to generation.
Food, Filipino style, particularly adobo, connects us to home. It's distinct smell and taste continues to remind us of the place, friends and kin that we miss.
Adobong Pinoy. What’s your favorite recipe?