With four months of blogging under my belt, I’m very much surprised to realize that I haven’t blogged about this Filipino (national?) dish: adobo. The more American meals such as steak and mac and cheese have been up here long before this post for today. Adobo has so many different meanings already that I myself even can’t properly define it. It can mean to cooking with vinegar, though it is also used to describe adobong mani (adobo peanuts) which is cooked in garlic, also a staple of the Filipino adobo. But for our family, adobo is cooking something in a mix of vinegar, with soy sauce, with tons of garlic and onions, with some peppercorns and bay leaves. The typical meats to be cooked in it include pork, chicken, squid, kangkong, pata (pork leg) and now, for some hack hocks (feet? knuckles?!)
This is the first time that i would see this cooked at home, and first time (I think) that I would be eating this also. Though it is normal here at home to have the adobong pata, which I love, it is not normal for me to see the picture above being prepared for dinner. It actually left me feeling queasy at the first look, but I just looked at it as food after some time. Luckily, everything was cleaned at the supermarket already. All the nails (gross) and more scary stuff are gone, and the only major thing to do was chop it and check for hair. I helped ate Pines chop the crazy things and was already looking forward to how glutinous the sauce for the adobo is going to get.
The hair is another story. Generally, pork hair is gone by the time it reaches the grocery store. For parts like these, with the skin folds, some hair are bound to get left behind. And that’s where ate Pines and the tweezers come in. She deftly removed most of the hair and off to rinsing and 2 batches of cleaning.
Since the feet aren’t the cleanest part of the pig, and the bones contain a bit of impurities, I told mom and ate Pines to allow the water to boil first then throw the water out. This was done twice to ensure that the meat is free from any scary stuff that can be in it. Afterwards, a handful of onions, garlic, and some soy sauce and vinegar are thrown in the mix. Along with the aforementioned bay leaves and peppercorns.
The good thing about most filipino dishes are they are not fussy. You dump everything in the pan and leave it to boil/simmer/soften, etc. As the case with most adobo, you do the same. Wait for the meat to get tender and it’s done. There is of course the hidden magic of most cooks to know when it’s done (the same with knowing how much to put it in without tasting the ingredients). Just wait for it til it gets tender, and now you have a good serving of adobo.
Though the ham hocks are scary, please be reminded that it can be cooked with “normal” meat parts. And of course, the fact that this is one of the most well-received recipes from foreigners also makes it a good recipe to try. The frequency and variety of adobo being served in most Filipino households will come as a shock since I am sure that every household has this on their menu a couple of times a week, in different versions! The pig’s feet adobo is great, the suck-the-bones-kind-of-great some people reserve for beef ribs or baby back ribs. Gotta try it 🙂 The only thing that makes this meal a bit sad is the leftovers can’t be made to adobo flakes!!!
1 kilo of porkcut into 1x2x2 inch cubes or chicken cut into serving pieces , 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 cup vinegar, 3 bay leaves, a handful of peppercorns, 5 cloves garlic chopped, 2 onions sliced
You may saute this, starting out with the garlic and onions, peppercorns and bay leaves, then add the meat. Saute the meat a bit, then add the liquids. Simmer for a good 30 minutes to an hour, depending on meat cut. Test for tenderness. Serve with rice.
Or, you can just put everything in a pan, simmer for a good 30 minutes to an hour, depending on meat cut 😛 Now ain’t that easy? 🙂