I know very little about Filipino cuisine. I know that they eat balut (do NOT click on that link if you’re squeamish), they have a sour tamarind based soup called sinigang, that they love pork, they call noodles pancit, and … that’s about it. My first real foray into it came a couple weekends ago when I bought a pork loin ready to bread and fry but I had forgotten that I was out of coconut milk at home for the accompanying curry. It was a Sunday afternoon and I’d already changed into my home clothes and I really didn’t want to go to the hassle of going outside again. I’d have to make do with what I had.
A Google search for what to do with a pork tenderloin to eat with rice resulted in a few hits for pork adobo, a very popular Filipino method of cooking pork and chicken. Turns out, it was a very straightforward method too as many recipes have you just dump everything into a pot and simmer for about an hour. That I can do!
To me, what makes adobo so different from other similar Asian simmered dishes is use of quite a bit of vinegar; indeed, the simmered meat and sauce should be quite tart, with a good kick of pepper and garlic. However, despite it being an unfamiliar flavour, the tartness grew on us and we were scraping the bottom of the pan for all the sauce to eat with our rice! And it’s a great thing to cook on an extra hot day as you hardly have to watch the pot as it simmers away.
1 lb pork tenderloin
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tbsp crushed black pepper
1/4 cup vinegar (I used a combo of rice vinegar and white malt)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 tbsps sugar, to taste
1 tsp cornstarch
Cut the pork tenderloin into 1 inch cubes and place in a nonreactive pot. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the cornstarch (start with 1 tbsp of sugar), stir well and leave to marinate for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and stir well.
Place the pot over medium heat and bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. The sauce should reduce and become relatively thick but if you wish for it to be thicker, use the cornstarch mixed with some cold water.
Serve with white rice and some sort of vegetable on the side. I just chopped up some tomatoes.