Sunday, February 13, 2011

All Pinoys know Adobo

Cooking it is the most mouth-watering experience, both for the cook and for the nakiki-amoy. Eating, brings you to an experience hundreds of years old, inherited from tradition. Only in the Philippines, the Pinoy Adobo.

Adobo means sauce or marinade in Spanish. When the colonists arrived, they found our ancestors stewing meat in vinegar and all the good stuff, and since it has funny looking but superb tasting sabaw (sauce), they called it sauce in Spanish! What a way to call a dish! These "wiseguys" has been making the same mistake over and over again all over the world, and the true name of our favorite dish has been lost forever. Good thing, cooking it is still basically the same as it was before. At least the flavor is still somewhat the same.

Photo from MarketManila
Marinating meat in salt and vinegar, boiling it for hours seemed really traditional in the 1500's. Adding garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves belongs to the 1800-1900's. But whatever is added to it, the adobo brings you back to the past through your palette. Hundreds of years ago, no refrigeration, no means of preservation and in times of plenty, lots of meat. So our ancestors improvised, and it turned into one tasty dish.

As they say, the Pinoy adobo tastes better as it ages. Vinegar and salt inhibits the growth of bacteria, and meat boiled and swimming  in its own fat is like meat swimming in preservatives in a natural way. Eating it off the stove, which on my opinion, cannot be avoided due to the mouth watering nature of an adobo is already superb. But giving a few days wait definitely makes it all worth it. All the flavors wonderfully blended in, everything almost perfect. You may not want to stop eating.

Be sure to cook lots of rice to go with adobo. A Filipino faced with rice and adobo won't talk a lot, just eat a lot. A hearty ulam (viand) for a hearty warrior, the Pinoy Warrior. More rice please!

An adobo recipe will be posted on later articles, so watch out for it. For now, just think about how you can eat adobo after reading this. :-)

Update: How to cook adobo, read it here. Adobo ulet anyone?