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How to Cook Pork Adobo: A Filipino Dish

Darius is a former high school literary and feature writer that loves reading books, listening to music, and watching movies.

Pork Adobo, a quintessential Filipino dish. Photo from Salu-salo.

Pork Adobo, a quintessential Filipino dish. Photo from Salu-salo.

The Filipino Adobo's Brief History

The word "adobo" comes from the Spanish word "adobar" which means marinade, sauce, or seasoning. During the Philippines' Pre-colonial period, the people's main ingredients for cooking are vinegar and salt. This is to keep them fresh longer because of the tropical climate of the country. When the Spanish Empire colonized the country in the late 16th century and early 17th century, they encountered the adobo cooking process. The Spanish also applied the term adobo to any native dish that was marinated before consumption. Dishes prepared with vinegar, garlic, salt (later soy sauce), and other spices eventually came to be known solely as adobo, with the original term for the dish now lost to history.

The Differences Between Other Culture's Adobo

Filipino Adobo vs. Spanish/Latin American Adobo ingredients table

Main IngredientsSimilar Ingredients Does not have or isn't cooked with

Soy Sauce



Black Peppers



Bay Leaves






Estimated Cooking Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

40 min

50 min

Serving for four people, or a family.

Ingredients for Pork Adobo

  • 2 red onions, sliced, chopped, or diced
  • 1 to 1.5 kg pork (with at least 75% meat and 25% fat), sliced or chopped into cubes
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons cooking oil, olive or vegetable
  • 75 to 125 mL soy sauce, sodium volume depends on you
  • 1 to 1 and 1/4 cup water
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, preferably white
  • 1 Knorr pork cube, an all-in-one seasoning cube
  • at least 1 teaspoon black pepper, crushed or powdered
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably iodised
  • 20 to 40 mL vinegar, added when the pork is cooked

General Instructions for Cooking Pork Adobo

  1. On a deep enough pan, skillet, or pot, heat the onion in oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until it becomes translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic and onion. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to keep the ingredients moving.
  2. Add the pork and lightly stir. Wait for it to simmer for at least five to ten minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce, Knorr pork cubes, pepper, salt, sugar, and water. Stir and mix everything together. Leave it open or with a lid while it simmer to boil for at least 10 to 30 minutes on a medium to high flame.
  4. Add more water to the mixture if you think the dish is too dry. Always taste test your dish. If it's too salty, add water. If it's too bland, add soy sauce, pepper, and other spices like bay leaves.
  5. See or taste if the pork is cooked. If it's soft, or at least easy to chew, bring the flame to low and add the vinegar and leave it for another three to five minutes.
  6. Serve on top or on side of rice and enjoy.
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This is a all-in-one pork Knorr pork cube I always add in the dish.

This is a all-in-one pork Knorr pork cube I always add in the dish.

Things to Consider while Cooking Pork Adobo

  1. Like any other adobo recipes, you can always marinade your pork (or chicken) first for at least 30 minutes to one hour before putting them all into a heated pan, pot, or skillet. Marinading them would require you the same ingredients except for the water and Knorr pork cubes. The Knorr pork cubes are only to be added when the dish is brought into a boil.
  2. Do not overcrowd the pan when browning the meat so the pork pieces get a good sear. Use a wide pan or cook in batches if necessary.
  3. Potatoes and hard boiled eggs are a delicious way to bring a more deliciously "pizzazz" to your adobo. Make sure to pan-fry the cut potatoes first before adding to the stew so they’ll keep their shape better.
  4. Cook off the strong vinegar flavor by allowing it to boil uncovered and without stirring for a good few minutes.
  5. If you want to season the dish with more salt than called for in the recipe, I suggest adding it during the last few minutes of cooking to correctly gauge taste. The flavor of the dish will concentrate as the sauce reduces. Add more water if you think the dish is too salty or use a low-sodium soy sauce. You can add more sugar to make the dish sweet.

Other Pork Delicacies in the Philippines

Pork is one of the Philippines' most prominent food, dish, or business. Today, the country ranks as the world's 8th biggest consumer of pork, with at least 60% of its meat present and sold in the national markets.

Aside from Adobo, pork can be cooked by Sinigang (a Filipino soup or stew characterized by its sour and savoury taste most often associated with tamarind), Sisig (a Filipino dish made from parts of pig head and chicken liver, usually seasoned with calamansi, onions and chili peppers), and the Philippines' all time festival favorite the Lechon.

© 2019 Darius Razzle Paciente


asereht1970 from Philippines on August 10, 2020:

I see you also have another article about pork adobo. The pictures you posted made me crave for some right now.

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