Every Filipino household in the >7,000 islands of the Philippines has a different version of Adobo. Adobo is a well loved Filipino dish that transforms fatty meat, soy sauce and vinegar into a rich, dark caramel of sweet and acid through the cooking process. Adobo is traditionally made with pork belly but you can use chicken as a substitute. I would not try to make this vegetarian as it defeats (the fatty meat is a big contributor to the flavor of this dish) the purpose of why this dish was created in the first place.
400g of pork (200g lean pork, 200g pork belly or ribs), 3tbsp of dark soy sauce, 6tbsp of white vinegar, 2tbsp of coarse pepper, 5 bruised garlic cloves (keep it whole and just pound it down with knife to take off skin), bay leaves, spring onions
Optional: Star anise, cloves, rosemary, spring onions
Marinade pork in dark soy sauce, vinegar and 1 tbsp of coarse pepper at least an hour before cooking.
After the hour, heat a deep pot with some oil to medium heat and sear the pork (without the marinade jus) until golden brown. Add in the garlic and stir together with the pork until the garlic has slightly browned. Add in remaining pepper, bay leaves, herbs and the marinade jus + a small amount of water (roughly less than half a cup) into the pot. Turn down heat to low for an hour of cooking, stirring the pot every now and then. If the sauce looks too reduced, add more water and stir. You can also finish the last half hour of cooking in the oven if you’re using a claypot.
The adobo is ready if the sauce has thickened and pork is tender. Add salt to your taste. Serve on white rice and garnish with some spring onions if desired!