One of my favorite, family comfort foods is Filipino pork adobo. My mom’s pork adobo is one of the simplest meals I make. It’s not the fastest, but what it lacks in quickness it makes up in simplicity and ease of cooking. And sometimes you don’t mind being patient if you can’t throw something together without much effort. I’ll typically get this started and while the meat simmers for an hour, I prep and turn on the rice cooker. So easy. And while I’m feeling lazy, steamed veggies of some sort (especially broccoli or cabbage) usually get added as a low-stress side. Chop, steam, done. Easy does it.
I tried to take a photo of what the sugar looks like when it’s time to add the pork. The sugar goes in clear, almost white, but when it turns golden, it’s time to get the pork cooking.
There are many variations of pork adobo. Each family seems to have their own take. This recipe is how my mom cooks hers.
The soy sauce does make the dish salty, but it’s meant to be eaten with plain rice. The rice helps balance out the saltiness. You may want to reduce the soy sauce and sub in more water (or even broth) if you don’t like things very salty. Or maybe just try the recipe as is one time and adjust from there according to your preference.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 pound boneless pork loin (thick cut), cut into 1″ pieces
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- couple dashes garlic powder (about ¼ teaspoon)
- couple dashes onion powder (about ¼ teaspoon)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- cooked rice, for serving (we like jasmine)
- Heat oil in a large pan (I like using my le creuset style pot) on medium heat. Add sugar. Watch carefully for when the sugar turns golden brown. Add pork. Add salt and pepper and cook 3-5 minutes without turning/stirring, until the bottom is browned nicely. Turn and cook another 3-5 minutes without turning/stirring until the bottom is browned nicely. Note: If doubling recipe, cook the pork in batches. Otherwise, the pork will get crowded and it won’t brown.
- Add garlic powder and onion powder and stir. Stir in soy sauce and water and cook until boiling. Stir in vinegar and cook till boiling. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 1 hour, or until tender, stirring occasionally.
- If there is still liquid left in the pan, increase heat to medium/medium-high and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. If you’re shredding your pork, while the liquid reduces, use the back of a wooden spoon, pushing down on the pork, to shred the meat. Note: It’s not traditional to shred the pork like this, but it’s how my sister and I like it.
- Serve with plain rice. Enjoy!
Reader question: What’s your favorite comfort food from your family?