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Braising the steaks

Update: January, 05/2015 - 17:34
Preservation:The rich stew is centuries old.

Filipinos know their adobo, perhaps the most popular dish from the Philippines, next to the lechon (roasted pig) of course. While the lechon always has a special place in every Filipino gathering from weddings to Christmas dinners, adobo most certainly is a fixture in daily menus.

According to accounts, "adobo" came from the Spanish word "adobar", which means marinade. It was first recorded in 1613 by Spaniard Pedro de San Buenaventura in a dictionary he was compiling. He listed the dish as "adobo de los naturals", noting its similarity to Spanish and Mexican dishes.

However, food historian Raymon Sokolov said the ingredients for adobo were already in existence even before Ferdinand Magellan came. Back then in the absence of modern amenities like a refrigerator, Filipinos developed various methods to preserve their meat including boiling or stewing them.

It was said that adobo was first cooked with vinegar and salt, and when the Chinese traders came, they introduced soy sauce into the mix. And that is how we know our adobo today. With garlic and bay leaf thrown in, among others.

Over the centuries, adobo has gone through a gastronomic evolution, incorporating regional tastes and ingredients. It is not surprising if Filipino families have their own adobo recipe that they hand down from one generation to another, and bring with them wherever they go. In 2002, there was even a film – American Adobo – about Filipinos living in New York, and inspired by, what else, the Filipino dish.

Adobo is so much a part of Filipinos' lives that there are even moves to officially list it as a national symbol. And perhaps it's safe to say that you can't call yourself a real Filipino if you don't know your adobo.

Types of adobo

Chicken Pork Adobo – The "standard" version you will usually find in homes and humble eateries across the country.

Beef/Chicken/Pork Adobo – This more decadent spin on the classic stew originated in Batangas, where achuete (annatto) water is sometimes substituted for the soy sauce. This results in a less salty sauce and adds a reddish tinge to the dish. The meat is braised in order of toughness, with the hardier beef pieces hitting the pan first.

Adobo sa Gata (coconut milk) – A popular dish in Southern Luzon, this Bicolano take on adobo adds coconut milk to the vinegar braising liquid. Green finger chili peppers, which abound in Bicol, are used instead of black peppercorns.

Adobong Puti (White Adobo) - Although this dish is actually brown (an effect of frying the meat prior to braising), it gets its name from the clear vinegary liquid it's traditionally made with. This version is preferred by the purists since it eliminates the soy sauce and the bay leaves from the recipe, giving way to the three basic adobo flavours: vinegar, garlic, and peppercorns.

Adobong Puso ng Saging – This delicacy calls for sliced white banana flowers sauted in white vinegar, a helping of bagoong (shrimp paste), and a sprinkling of suahe (small shrimps). Hailing from Cavite, this vegetable-based adobo is used as the main souring agent in the province's version of pancit guisado.

Adobong Malutong (Crispy Adobo) – Proving that Filipinos are highly resourceful when it comes to recycling leftovers, adobong malutong entails shredding the meat from leftover chicken and pork adobo, and frying them in hot oil until they are brown and crisp. Crunchy adobo flakes are known for their long shelf-life (especially when refrigerated in a sealed container) and for their versatility with other dishes.

Adobong Pusit (Squid Adobo) – Originating from coastline areas where seafood is plentiful but meat is scarce, this particular adobo's sauce is blackened further by pouring squid ink into the stew along with vinegar and soy sauce. Green finger chili peppers are sometimes added for an extra kick.

Apan-apan Adobabo – This Ilonggo dish uses kangkong (water spinach) as its main attraction. This version is inherently vegetarian, but is occasionally made decadent with the addition of tulapo (bits of pork fat rendered in oil). (SourceL http://www.pepper.ph) Inquirer (Philippine Daily)

Recipe

Chicken Pork Adobo

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 1 1/2 lbs pork belly, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 3 to 4 pieces dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorn
  • 1 head garlic, slightly crushed
  • 6 tablespoons vinegar (white or sugar cane)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

Cooking Procedure

Heat oil in a pan.

  • - Once the oil becomes hot, add the garlic
  • - Cook until the colour turns golden brown
  • - Remove the garlic and set aside. Add pork and chicken. Cook for 5 minutes or
  • until the colour turns light brown
  • - Add whole peppercorn, bay leaves, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and water. Let boil and simmer until the meat is tender
  • - Add the sugar and stir
  • - Pour-in vinegar and let boil. Simmer until most of the liquid evaporates
  • - Add salt to taste. Put-in the fried garlic, stir, and cook for 2 minutes
  • - Serve. Share and enjoy!

 

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