Pork Adobo

A bowl of Pork Adobo


This recipe is my latest favourite pork recipe. Quite apart from the amazing flavour, I love the incredible contrast of the dark, chocolate-looking sauce with the pale colour of the pork when the chunks are cut open.

Despite the Spanish-sounding name, this recipe originates from The Philippines. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, they noticed that this traditional dish used a similar method – using vinegar to braise – to a Spanish dish, and re-named it adobo. The original name has been lost to history.

Another reason why I love this recipe is it’s a ‘bung it all in the slow cooker’ dish. Apart from assembling the ingredients, there’s precious-little prep-work. Personally, I like to put in a little bit of time at the end of cooking, and puree the sauce, but that’s just to make it more appealing for a family meal – it turns it into a rich, smooth, glossy, deep chocolate-coloured sauce. The first time I made it, I just blitzed everything in the liquidizer, forgetting about the quantity of peppercorns. My daughter (7) loved it, but it was right on the borderline of her spice tolerance, so a better approach would be to tie them loosely in a piece of muslin so they can flavour the sauce but can be easily hoiked out before puréeing.

The major tweak that I made to the recipe was to use kecap manis instead of regular soy sauce. Soy sauce can be a great flavour addition to many dishes but it is extremely salty, and for this dish and the relatively large quantity used, the kecap manis was less salty and even more rich in flavour. It also contributed majorly to the beautiful dark colour of the sauce. The other change was to use rice wine vinegar instead of regular vinegar. It is less harsh that either white or malt vinegar. If you have difficulty sourcing rice vinegar, then balsamic would be a suitable substitution, either regular or white.

This recipe deliberatly makes a large quantity, some to eat immediately and then there’s plenty to freeze for later. You can easily halve this recipe, though, if your slow cooker is small or you’re not sure if you will enjoy pork adobo.

Pork Adobo

1.5kg leg pork – great value when on special offer
250ml rice wine vinegar
250ml kecap manis
500ml water
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
6 cloves of garlic
1 large onion

  • Remove any skin and excess fat from the pork.
  • Cut the pork into large (5cm) pieces – this is mostly to make sure the pieces don’t fall apart because of the extended slow cooking.
  • Chop the onion and garlic.
  • Tie the peppercorns loosely in a piece of muslin.
  • Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours.
  • To finish:
    • Pick out the pieces of pork, set aside and keep warm.
    • Remove the muslin bag of peppercorns. Remove the bay leaves if liked – personally I leave them in.
    • Puree the sauce either by using a wand blender or by pouring the sauce into a liquidiser.
    • If the sauce seems too thin, pour it into a pan and simmer until it thickens up.
    • Return the meat to the sauce and heat through NB: If you’ve made a full quantity of the recipe, then just reheat the meat and sauce that you will need and set the rest aside to cool. When cold, package in suitable containers and freeze.
    • Serve with Noodles and Rice and green vegetables.

One Comment on “Pork Adobo”

  1. Tineke says:

    Thank you for this gorgeous recipe! My family and I enjoyed it very much!
    There is an Indonesian version of it, which I regularly make. it is called Babi Ketjap. The vinegar is replaced by lemon juice, you add about 5 cm of grated ginger and replace the peppercorns by one red chillipepper. You should try that as well!

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