ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • World Cuisines»
  • Southeast Asian Cuisine

Recipe for Philippine Adobo – the Quintessential Filipino Stew

Updated on September 28, 2012
Chicken Adobo with Fried Rice, Egg, and Maple Bacon
Chicken Adobo with Fried Rice, Egg, and Maple Bacon | Source
Pork Adobo with Rice
Pork Adobo with Rice | Source

If Filipinos from all around the globe would vote for a national Philippine dish, then perhaps adobo would win hands-down and by a landslide.

So popular is this dish from the Philippines, that it has spawned several local varieties: adobong manok or chicken adobo, adobong baboy or pork adobo, adobong pusit or squid adobo, and even adobong kangkong or swamp cabbage or river spinach adobo.

Really, almost any kinds of meat, seafood, and vegetable can be cooked up adobo-style in less than 30 minutes.

The secrets to this dish’s massive appeal among Filipinos lie in its scrumptious taste, ease of preparation, and long shelf life.

Gourmets and Gourmands Love Adobo – Why?


Sweet, salty, bitter, and overall quite appetizing, adobo is the classic Filipino dish that is packed with interesting favors.

It gets its signature taste from its main ingredients – soy sauce, vinegar, meat or seafood, garlic, pepper, and bay leaves.

To make this Philippine dish slightly sweet, Filipinos add in less vinegar than what they would normally do.

To make it tangy, they add in more vinegar.

Adobo’s garlic is browned in cooking oil and gives this dish the tempting odor that sends Filipinos craving for a full meal.

Adobo’s soy sauce, of course, is well-liked in the Philippines.

Actually, many foods flavored with soy sauce are served in typical Filipino dining tables.

Ease of Preparation

In the Philippines, Filipinos serve adobo in big and small gatherings or just pack them for lunch for individual eating.

They like to serve it because it can be prepared in a flash, well, almost.

First, the meat or seafood is marinated in a combination of soy sauce and vinegar.

Second, in a pan set over heat, garlic is browned in oil and the meat or seafood is pan-fried.

Third, the soy sauce with vinegar is poured into the pan.

With an addition of few bay leaves and sprinkles of pepper, adobo is ready to be served.

With the ingenuity of Filipino cooks, adobo can be spiced up even more by adding potatoes or hard-boiled eggs.

By the way, Filipinos love eating adobo with hot steamed rice – perfect!

Shelf Life

During long trips to the Philippines’ thousands of islands, tiring treks up high into the country’s tallest peaks, or lazy days in the archipelago’s countless azure beaches, Filipinos can be seen carrying and eating adobo!

Strange as it may seem, there is actually wisdom behind this time-honored tradition.

Adobo keeps rather well for a long time without refrigeration and under the Philippines’ often unforgiving tropical temperatures.

Thanks to its good dose of vinegar – a natural preservative that fights bacteria like a pro.

With adobo in the lunch box, there is zero worry about spoilage!

Adobo Recipe or How to Impress Others with Your Philippine Cooking

Ingredients for Philippine Adobo

  • bay leaves – 2 pieces
  • black pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • chicken, pork, or squid – 1 kilogram; sliced into desired sizes
  • cooking oil – 2 tablespoons
  • garlic – 1 head; chopped
  • soy sauce – 4 tablespoons
  • water – 2 cups
  • white vinegar – 1/3 cup

Steps in Cooking Adobo

  1. Marinade meat or seafood for a few minutes in soy sauce with vinegar.
  2. Drain the sauce from the meat or seafood then set aside.
  3. In a pan set over medium heat, brown the garlic.
  4. Fry the meat or seafood until golden brown.
  5. Add in the soy sauce with vinegar.
  6. Season everything with bay leaves and pepper.
  7. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce is almost dry.
  8. Remove adobo from the pan and serve with rice.

Notes on this Adobo Recipe:

  • You are free to add in more or less of the soy sauce or vinegar as you see fit. More vinegar can make the adobo tangy while less of it can make the adobo sweet.
  • Also, many Filipinos want to have adobo with lots of sauce. In this case, they add more water, vinegar, soy sauce and pepper.
  • Potatoes and hardboiled eggs are sometimes added into the adobo.

Copyright © 2012 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

Squid Adobo Recipe from the Philippines

The Philippines on the Map

A markerPhilippines -
get directions


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • nuchime profile image

      nuchime 5 years ago from philippines

      WOW! Looks so delicious!! A great Filipino it so much.

      Thanks for sharing!!

    • asmaiftikhar profile image

      asmaiftikhar 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Mouth watering hub.Its not fair k.

      thanks for sharing such a useful hub.

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 5 years ago from Cebu

      Ate Kerlyn - your adobo recipe look so delicious. This is indeed one Filipino dish that a lot of people will love. Thanks for sharing

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      Looks delicious, the thought of squid and vinegar is making me drool! Now you are making me hungry..

    • Julz09 profile image

      Julz09 5 years ago

      ahh :) this is truly great!! i could just about taste this right now, A great Filipino chicken dish. Well done.

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 5 years ago from Philippines

      I agree that adobo is indeed the more affordable national Philippine dish compared to the also famous lechon. My son loves chicken adobo and he can eat it in several meals without tiring. Also, adobo really favors a longer shelf-life - the longer it sits, the tastier it gets.