Monday, March 23, 2009

Pork Adobo - Meh

I'm totally addicted to FoodGawker. As a result, Charles sometimes finds himself the object of an experiment in the kitchen. Last night we tried a Filipino dish called Adobo. I don't think I did everything quite right, so perhaps someone can enlighten me. It was good, but next time I'm going to make some adjustments.

The recipe was:

1.5 pounds pork (a fat cut, like ribs or belly) in chunks
1T vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar (white or cider)
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2T brown sugar

The instructions were to fry the pork in the oil for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and onion. Fry two more minutes. Then add everything else *except* the brown sugar. Simmer that for 10-15 minutes, while rice cooks. Then add the brown sugar, stir, and yum.

I had some problems. First, I was rushed for various reasons so the pork fried longer than it was supposed to. Second, I added the brown sugar to the liquid sauce mix and since it was too late I just threw it in. Then I added another tablespoon at the end, because the sauce tasted so...vinegary. Third, the simmering period went on about 10 minutes longer than it should have, because I was rushed so I got the rice on late. I think the dish cooked for 40 minutes when it should have cooked for a bare 20.

I also added one minced hot chile (a small, long, green kind - seemed middle-of-the-road to me since I didn't recognize the name. Chiles vary widely in terms of heat and the small and long kinds are usually hotter. But red is often hotter than green, and I cut out the ribs and seeds. So that makes for a medium chile, see?)

One very strange thing about this recipe: it smells bad. Really vinegary. But when you serve it, it's good. Not great, but tasty. And after we ate, the smell seemed kind of nice to me.

The major problems with the recipe were twofold:

1. The pork was like rubber. Way, way too tough. I think I overcooked it, but we used ribs (boneless country-style ribs) which I would normally braise. So I'm thinking next time I might braise this. That changes it from a 20 minute dinner to a 3 hour dinner, but...

2. The chile was a total failure. It added no zip to the dish, and I'm annoyed. That said, I know it had hot stuff in it, because even though I kept saying to myself, "wash your hands" and used only one hand (because I cut my forefinger at Lowe's getting a tomato cage off the stack. So the worst thing, I imagined, would be chile juice in my cut), I ended up swiping my hand across my nose and then washing it. (Because you wouldn't wash your hand and *then* wipe your nose! What would be the point of that?). MISTAKE. My nose burned like it was on fire for approximately an hour. I put an ice cube on it, at one point. True story.

Any thoughts? This is, according to my source, Filipino home cooking, and a dish widely enjoyed across Asia. So perhaps someone can help me make it (and myself) better. I liked the idea of the sauce - the combination of simple things seems just right to me. I just think my technique was poor.

1 comment:

Momma said...

that looks sooooo good!