Adobo everything

Published July 22, 2021, 4:00 PM

by Sol Vanzi

INK NOODLES Pancit Negra from Ligao City, Albay similar to Pansit Pusit

Arguably the most popular dish all over the country, adobo is the go-to dish of almost every family several times a week for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks.

While majority automatically think of chicken or pork as main ingredients for adobo, there are hundreds of other items that can be cooked adobo-style. Here we try to present them.

Adobong Mani — Cooked and sold at most street corners, adobong mani is not a viand. Unlike the typical adobo, it contains no vinegar, yet is called adobo because it is heavily flavored with garlic and spices. Also unlike meat adobo, adobong mani is deep fried.

One starts by slicing or smashing whole garlic cloves, which are then slowly fried until golden brown. The fried garlic is removed from the oil and set aside. Shelled peanuts are then slowly fried in the garlic-infused oil until done. Sliced chili pepper is fried along with peanuts, if desired. The fried garlic is mixed with the cooked peanuts before serving.

Some peanut vendors blanch the peanuts before frying, to achieve the different kind of crispiness. Others fry the peanuts, garlic, and spices all at the same time. No matter what the preference is, salt is always added last.

AN AROMATIC BUS FARE Adobong Mani (Lutong Bahay Recipes)

Adobong Pusit – Most housewives prefer to cook squid adobo-style than any other recipe, because the dish goes well with rice or beer as main course or pulutan.

The first step is cleaning the squid by discarding its beak and entrails but keeping the ink sac intact. Small squid is kept whole while bigger ones are sliced into bite-sized rings.

Smashed garlic cloves are browned lightly in oil and the squid is stirred in with vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Stirring breaks up the ink sacs and blackens the sauce to produce a thick, flavorful gravy.

Adobong Tahong – A favorite pulutan served at beerhouses, adobong tahong is a simple appetizer prepared by stir-frying shelled mussels in adobo seasonings: vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, bay leaves until heated through. To shell the mussels they are steamed until barely open, cooled, shucked, and their beards cut off. Adobong tahong is a precious topping for Pancit Malabon.        

SPICY SEAFOOD Adobong Tahong by Tatay’s Pride in Concepcion, Malabon City

While majority automatically think of chicken or pork as main ingredients for adobo, there are hundreds of other items that can be cooked adobo-style.

Pansit Pusit – In Cavite, frugal women like my grandmother use leftover adobong pusit to produce pansit pusit by adding bihon (fine rice noodles) and kinchay. The dish has recently been discovered by visiting foodies. It has become a part of the popular Cavite food tour.

Adobo Oil – Oil skimmed from the surface of chicken or pork adobo has dozens of uses. It can enhance sautéed vegetables, fried rice, stir-fried noodles, barbecue sauces, and marinades. Keep adobo oil in covered containers in the refrigerator where it can stay fresh for weeks.

Adobo’s Children – It is debatable which came first but many dishes seem to have been mothered by adobo. There is paksiw na pata (pig trotters stew), which resembles sweetened pork adobo garnished with banana blossoms. There’s also pares, beef simmered in adobo seasonings enriched with star anise, ginger, and sugar. And then there’s sisig out of boiled, grilled pig’s head chopped and flavored with adobo seasonings and served sizzling. Humba is another savory viand: skin-on pork cooked for hours in its own fat with soy-based adobo flavoring enhanced with sugar, star anise, ginger, and just a touch of vinegar. Cinnamon bark is sometimes added in some regions.       

Adobong Hito – Native black fresh water catfish, when cooked adobo-style, is traditionally simmered with turmeric to reduce fishiness.