Comfort Food · Filipino Food · Recipes

Pork Adobo

One of the most common things that sometimes happen when people find out my background is an awkward conversation which involves the other person telling me that they have met someone else that comes from the Philippines and then asking if I know that person. For example, a few months ago Matt and I were talking to this guy…

– Oh you’re Filipino too. There is this young man in my office, you might know him, his name is Henry. He’s from the Philippines too. 

– Oh….ok….yea…nah…I don’t know many Filos actually…

– Oh he lives not too far from here. Yea, he is really friendly. He is going back to the Philippines soon ….

– *smile and nod*

– He is a really hard worker. He is always so happy and barely complains at work.  He lives just a few suburbs away from here….

I understand trying to make small talk, but c’moooonnnn. My people do not get a memo each time one of us disembarks and have their passport stamped. Nor do we need to hear a performance appraisal if one of our people work well.

I also remember one conversation that went just a litle bit too far. Matt and I were on a date night (pre-baby days). This lovely man came up to us and asked me what my background was then proudly said to Matt,

They’re good aren’t they?  They make good housewives. I have one at home too…

– Excuse me random stranger?

Slightly uncalled for don’t you think?

Besides, the joke’s on Matt. I am so cluttered. I totally suck at keeping things at home in a neat and organised manner. I have some kind of organised chaos thing happening that drives Matt crazy!

In saying that, I do find the humour in it…MOST times. I have only ever been totally offended a small handful of times.

Now, questions I do not mind answering are food related ones.

I  am not familiar with a lot of Filipino dishes but my eyes light up when I get asked whether I know of Adobo and if I can make it.

– Why yeeesss. I have had Adobo. MANY MANY times and why yes, I CAN make it!

Adobo is one of the most easiest Filipino dishes to cook. Like most dishes, there are heaps of different versions of this dish. The most common thing you’ll find are the key ingredients of garlic, soy sauce and vinegar.

My version can be done within 30 – 40 minutes whereas I have a friend who takes 5 hours to cook his way because he slow cooks it and uses a different cut of pork meat.


Stuff to think about

Got Rice?

I feel that this needs to be served with rice, EVERY time. I can’t ever imagine serving this dish with anything else but white rice

Soy Sauce
I always use light soy sauce. My favourite brand is called Pearl River Bridge and it can be found in the Asian section of Coles and Woolies as well as Asian grocery stores.

I tried making Adobo with some other brands (including Filipino brands) and I was NOT a fan.


Pork, Chicken or both
The recipe below is Pork Adobo but you can certainly swap the pork for chicken pieces (with bones – ie drumsticks and wings) OR cook it with both pork and chicken.

If you are feeling adventurous, add some chicken giblets or chicken hearts in it. If there were some in the shops, I would have definitely chucked some in.

Coating Pork with flour
In the recipe below, I coat the pork pieces VERY LIGHTLY with flour. This is so it reduces the risk of the pork popping and spitting hot oil on my face which has happened before. Don’t over coat it, the sauce for my recipe is meant to be a watery texture and not gloopy.


Taste test before pouring sauce on the rice
This is a rookie mistake made by a lot of people. I cringe whenever I watch people pour the sauce on the rice and I watch the white rice become a dark blackish colour.

Even after warning people, some experts tell me how much they love soy sauce ignoring the warning…then I watch their faces explode when it gets body slammed with the intense hit of soy sauce.

The sauce is soy sauce based that had time to reduce a little. The meat has also been cooking in soy sauce. You will need some blandness from the rice to balance the flavour.

Try and choose a pot that will fit the pork pieces and be just covered in the liquid during the cooking process

If you add too much of the sauce,  the flavour can be REALLY intense and not enjoyable. The only way to recover from it is to add more rice.

Always start with a little first, mix, taste and then add as you go along. Trust me!

Alrighty, I think that’s all I need to tell you. Let me know how you get on with this recipe.

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Pork Adobo

Pork Adobo

Recipe by FoodCoffeeMe (Marlene)
Serves 2 or 3


  • 600g Pork Spare Ribs (or about 5 – 6 rashers)
  • 2 x cloves garlic bruised
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1& 3/4 water
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Chop the pork spare ribs into 3 pieces, set aside
  2. In a nonstick pot/saucepan, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil.
  3. Brown pork pieces and set aside on the a plate on some good quality papertowel to soak up excess oil and juices.
  4. Pour the oil in a heatproof bowl. Wipe away any burnt black bits with some paper towel in the pan that may be there from searing the pork.
  5. **CAREFUL – perhaps allow it to cool slightly first. Do not burn yourself

  6. Using the same pot, heat up about 1/2 tablespoon of oil on low heat. I use the reserved oil but I strain it to remove any black bits.
  7. Sautee the bruised garlic for a couple of minutes, add the peppercorn and heat up for another minute.
  8. **Be careful not to burn the garlic.

  9. Add the water, soy sauce, vinegar and bay leaves. Stir. Add the sugar. Stir and turn up the heat to medium. Allow it to heat up for a few minutes.
  10. Carefully place the pork pieces in the pot and stir to coat. The pork should be mostly covered by the liquid. If not, add a touch of water (but not too much). Bring it up to a light simmer.
  11. Place lid on the pot. Cook on medium heat for about 20 – 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  12. This is a great time to cook your rice.

  13. When the pork is cooked, serve with hot rice.
  14. **For something different, fry or grill the cooked adobo meat then serve with rice.**

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