Adobo, My Way

For Independence Day, this dish is perfect.  After all, it is national dish of the Philippines (well, not officially…). Seriously, I don’t know anyone who does not like it, even if everyone has varying preferences – salty, tangy, oily, saucy, mixed, double cooked… as it is claimed, indeed, that there are a million and one ways to cook it.

But the adobo that I like and cook at home these days is one where a bit of my ancestry shows through – with banana blossoms (which some say are really lily buds but that’s another story…)

I also like my adobo with bay leaves and boiled eggs… in addition to being all pork, specifically belly part (although on occasion I also use kasim or pork shoulder), where I try to find ones that have very little pork fat (otherwise we trim off as much as we can). And as much as I like pork adobo, I’m really not a fan of the chicken variant, don’t know why.

Anyway, here is my recipe.  It is pretty standard, although I use my magic cooker –

5 to 6 strips of pork liempo (about 750 to 1000 grams), cut into cubes (we trim a lot of fat off…)
1 whole bulb garlic, cloves smashed
2 to 3 large pieces bay leaves, crumbled
1 cup soy sauce (I use light soy sauce)
1/2 cup native vinegar
a handful whole black peppercorns, lightly smashed
1 cup water
a handful of banana blossoms, rehydrated, tough ends cut off
hard boiled eggs (optional)

Clean the pork and place into the inner pot of the magic cooker. Add garlic, bay, soy sauce and vinegar. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Place the pot on the stove, add water and cook (simmer) over low-medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir only after the mixture has bubbled (initial boil). Place the inner pot in the magic cooker and let it sit for at least 30 to 40 minutes.

Return the inner pot to the stove. Add the banana blossoms and boiled eggs. Lightly stir the mixture. Let simmer about 10 minutes. Return to the magic cooker and let sit until meat is tender – another 30 minutes or so.

Adjust the seasonings. I know some people like a really salty, or a salty-sweet adobo, but personally I like mine adobo tangy and only a bit salty so I’ve been known to add a little more vinegar (the banana blossoms add to the tanginess, too).

Yummmmyyy!!! And perfect with ice cold coke (diet or zero). Where’s the rice????

Healthy Baked Meatballs!

With all the things going on all at the same time lately, I haven’t had the time to indulge in my favorite hobby – cooking!

And I must say, it FEEEEELS SOOOOO GOOOOOOD to get cooking and fire the little oven once again!

These meatballs are healthy in the sense that they are not fried… I used lean meat… and yogurt! And it is an easy recipe to put together, too.

500 grams lean ground pork (maximum of 10% fat)

1 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

125 grams Greek-style yogurt
1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix the yogurt and bread crumbs together.  It will be clumpy.  Set aside.

Beat the egg with the salt and pepper.  Meanwhile start pre-heating the oven to 400*F.

Mix the ground pork, onion, garlic, egg mixture, and bread crumb mixture together.  Don’t overwork the meat or it could get tough when cooked.

Form the  meat mixture into balls.  I got about 30 balls.  Arrange on a baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes or less.  The leaner the meat, the tougher it can get if it is over-done, so be careful.

 

 

Minced Pork and Mushrooms, My Way…

One of the most popular dishes that my mother had in her arsenal was/is this diced pork-mushroom-tofu dish in a thick, sweet-salty sauce. I have tried to recreate it time and again but I never came close. It hasn’t stopped me from trying, and I always opt for ground pork instead of diced (less work!) but…

In any case, I prefer fresh mushrooms to dried ones, and a like a variety too, but sometimes I use dried shitakes also, when the fresh ones are unavailable.

400 grams lean ground pork
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soya sauce
4 to 5 tablespoons dark soya sauce
2 tablespoons shao xing wine
1/2 to 1 tablespoon sesame oil

300 grams assorted fresh mushrooms
or a handful of dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated

4 thin slices of ginger
1 small onion, minced finely
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced finely

fried shallots (or shallot sauce)
2 cups stock, part mushroom soaking liquid
(if using dried shitakes)
1 piece star anise
1 small piece cinnamon stick
1 small piece rock sugar, or to taste

Marinate the pork in oyster sauce, soy sauces, wine and sesame oil for at least half an hour.

Sauté the ginger, onions and garlic.

Add the pork.  Stir fry until pork is almost done.  Add the mushrooms. Stir briefly.

Add the shallots, stock and spices.

Simmer until almost all the liquid is gone.  Or, to make a real soft, mushy dish, put in a crockpot or thermal cooker.

Serve with boiled eggs, garnished with fried shallots.

 

 

 

 

Chinese-style Adobo

Adobo is the unofficial national dish of the Philippines.  But there are a thousand and one ways to make it – it seems that every one of my countrymen has his own family recipe for it.  Add to that a subculture, such as mine and another form of adobo is born!  But, how it could be legitimately called an adobo dish, I don’t really know!  For one thing, the dish does not have a drop of vinegar in it!

My recipe –

1 kilo pork belly, sliced into cubes (rinsed and cleaned)
12 to 20 pieces dried Chinese mushroom, rehydrated
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 pieces dried chili
2 pieces star anise
2 tablespoons each oyster sauce, thick soya sauce, light soya sauce, and dried mushroom soaking liquid
additional soy sauce, optional
1-1/2 to 2 cups water, or just enough to cover the pork

Sauté the garlic until soft and fragrant.  Add the dried chili and star anise.  Stir fry several seconds.  Put in the sauces (take care the mixture may sizzle) then put in the pork cubes.  Stir the mixture around until the pork is fully coated in the sauce.

Put in mushrooms and water.  Simmer until the pork is tender.  Adjust the seasonings.  After all, various brands of seasonings have different formulations and differences in tastes.

(In my case, I use my magic cooker – thermal cooker – and leave it overnight.)

Final note – the recipe I found in my mother’s recipe files originally specified 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  I substituted it with the thick soya sauce, which has a sweetish profile.