Every country has that one dish that represents their culture and heritage. The dish that signifies who they are as people of that nation. And dishes that other people can associate that nation with, without any difficulty.
Though maybe unofficial, these foods can be considered the national dish of that country mainly because of how common and familiar people can relate to that dish. And that particular kind of dish is what we will be talking about in this article.
A quintessential dish that represents the proud Filipino people. A dish so famous it even traveled halfway across the globe and set foot (or plate) in many restaurants and food establishments in the West. And yes, you’re half correct if you have guessed that this is Adobo.
Half correct because this really is Adobo: but this Adobo is one of a kind, a variant that is equally famous as the original. So without further ado, let’s dive right in on how to make the Best Adobong Dilaw that you and your family will surely love.
What is Adobong Dilaw (Filipino yellow adobo recipe)
Adobo, if we may say, is the quintessential dish of the Filipino. Everyone in the country knows how to cook it: each region in this beautiful country even has its take on it. The variation ranges from pork, chicken, ducks, fishes, and even vegetables. That is how versatile Adobo is.
The name of the dish came from the Spanish word adobar, which means marinade or sauce. The method of marinating for adobo that we know of today is vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, and bay leaves that you mix together to form the marinade base.
But the term adobo, if we are to refer to the original context of the Spanish historians, pertains to any dish that uses salt and vinegar to prolong the shelf life of food. When the Spanish first set foot in the Philippine Archipelago, they already found out that our ancestors were already using these two ingredients to preserve food.
Salt and vinegar are the two main ingredients for Adobo. Through Filipino cooks’ creativity and ingenuity, hundreds of variants of this dish can be enjoyed throughout the country. Adobong Dilaw is one of the many famous variants of this unofficial national dish of the Philippines. This variant uses luyang dilaw or turmeric, for that added heat and kick to the dish, hence the name Adobong Dilaw, because of the hue coming from the said rhizome.
There are claims that this equally delicious variant came from the town of Taal in the province of Batangas; however, Filipino folks from the South, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao, also have their version of this.
The process of cooking Adobo sa Dilaw is somewhat similar to the original version. The only significant difference is the addition of the turmeric that gives the dish that striking yellow hue.
Ways to Cook
There are but many ways to cook Adobong Dilaw available. Just be creative and innovative in the kitchen, and you will never run out of options in cooking this lovely and flavorful dish. And with the availability of modern kitchen equipment, cooking has never been more comfortable and more convenient.
Here are some of the tested ways of cooking Adobo sa Dilaw to give you a headstart and find out which one suits your lifestyle better.
The instant pot is the most versatile cookware by far. Its functionality and versatility make it reliable cookware to have in one’s kitchen. At its roots, this cookware is a pressure cooker, but it’s the upgraded version as it can also the functions of other cookware.
The settings available in the instant pot transforms it to other cooking appliances, all with a flick of a finger. This cookware can basically saute, steam, stir-fry, and do other functions that will otherwise require you to move from one kitchenware to another.
Since you can use the instant pot to saute and simmer, you can go ahead and saute the ingredients here, starting with the aromatics. Then finish off the cooking process after everything’s been sauteed and the flavors are well incorporated together.
There are dedicated buttons for different functions, so there’s no need for you to transfer the dish to another pot. Simply click the button to keep warm and let the instant pot work its wonders.
Of all the available modern kitchen equipment that we have in the market, sometimes resorting to the classic gives us confidence in cooking. As people say, the old reliable, and that’s what a stovetop is. Trusted by our moms for generations, there have been a few tweaks and upgrades, but it’s still that piece of kitchen equipment that we run to when all else fails.
No fancy tricks are needed when using the stovetop. Any kind of cooking pot or pan will do, so long as they can hold a high amount of heat, simply because the stovetop relies on direct coming from the burners (or the conducting material if you’re using an electric stovetop).
For optimal results, we suggest that you use a pot that is durable and heavier. This will hold a higher amount of heat and will prevent the bottom of the pan from burning. Simply saute the ingredients in the pot of your choice, following as the recipe instructs, and you’re good to go.
There are also varying degrees of temperature on the stovetop cooker. Choose which one applies to your needs while cooking. Alternatively, put the pot on top of the stovetop, set the temperature to high initially, switch it to medium once the pot is heated up. The oil temperature reaches the desired level.
Other Delicious Variants
As Adobong Dilaw is an equally flavorful variant of the classic Filipino dish, we definitely have other options and modifications to this lovely dish. There are multiple variants of Adobong Dilaw that you can try to have an idea on how to improve this dish better.
For starters, here are some of the variants that you can try at home.
Adobong Dilaw With Gata
Coconut trees naturally dot the landscape of the Philippines: This is because the nation is located in the tropics. The shorelines and even the farmlands are teeming with coconut trees, so one must never be surprised why many Filipino cuisines have coconut milk in them.
And why would you not put coconut milk in your dishes, right? Coconut milk makes dishes creamier and richer, and the additional layer of sweetness and richness makes any food even better. As one personality stated in his show, “ you can never go wrong with coconut milk.”
And that is true, on so many levels, especially in savory dishes. For the Adobong Dilaw, the coconut milk addition somehow balances the turmeric’s spice without masking its flavor. In fact, it even highlights the heat of the turmeric while giving a hint of sweetness to the sauce.
Proceed with cooking the recipe as you would typically cook an Adobo. Saute all the ingredients as indicated in the recipe. Then add in the coconut milk once the meat is tender.
For better results, keep simmering the adobo until the oil comes out of the coconut milk.
With Tanglad (Lemongrass)
Adobong Dilaw is not just flavorful; it is also equally aromatic because of the turmeric that adds that intense aroma and color. And lemongrass is also a very good aromatic because it gives off a sweet and refreshing aroma that will truly whet your appetite.
Lemongrass is also known to neutralize scents of intense ingredients and, sometimes, unappealing to many. The aroma it gives masks the unappealing scents without overpowering the flavors of those ingredients. The pungent and lemon-like scent makes it a perfect herb addition to savory dishes, much like Adobong Dilaw.
The steps in cooking Adobo with lemongrass are pretty much the same as cooking it regularly. If you want to really bring out the flavors of the herb, we suggest that you lightly pound the white part of the lemongrass, tie it up, and include it with the aromatics like the garlic when sauteing them.
Once all the ingredients are adequately cooked, and all the flavors are mixed in together, you can now scoop out the lemongrass. This is to prevent it from overpowering the overall taste of the Adobong Dilaw.
Crispy Adobong Dilaw
Adobo, and Adobong Dilaw, for this matter, is already delicious as it is. The only thing you need to add to make it even better is a plate of warm, cooked rice and a side dish of fish sauce with chopped chilies.
But then again, you might get bored eating the same kind of savory treat overtime. And you might even start wondering how you can make this dish even fancier and present it in a more appealing manner. If that’s your case, then you’re in luck, because we have the perfect idea for you.
You do not need any fancy remodeling for this. All you have to do is cook the Adobong Dilaw as you would usually cook it. Then once you’re sure that all the flavors have seeped in into the meat fibers, scoop them out of the sauce.
On a deep-bottomed pan, fill it up with cooking oil, enough to deep-fry the adobo pieces. Once the oil is heated up, deep-fry the cooked adobo pieces for about five minutes, until a crust forms on the outside. For the sauce, heat up the cooked adobo marinade and a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the mixture.
There are many fun facts that we can talk about this iconic Filipino dish, which will make us appreciate it even more. And we want to share with you some of these fun facts.
There are hundreds of adobo variations out there: and newer variants are being invented as time passes by. But two types of Adobo pertain to the cooking style.
One is Adobong may Sarsa (lit. Adobo with Sauce), and Adobong Tuyo (lit. Dry Adobo).
The latter cooking style is famous, specifically in the Visayas region, particularly in the Panay Islands.
We want you to become the best home-cook that you can be. That is why we will not stop with just giving you the recipe. We also want to share with you time-tested kitchen tips, so you can cook the Best Adobong Dilaw there is.
- For a milder flavor of the turmeric, use the powder form. You can opt-in for the natural, freshly extracted turmeric juice for a more intense flavor.
- To keep the aroma of the black pepper, always use freshly cracked ones. If you don’t have a pepper mill, you can put the black peppers in a pouch and pound them using a meat mallet or the blunt side of your knife.
- Use pork belly if you want a tastier Pork Adobong Dilaw.
- You can add liver spread to the sauce to make it richer and flavorful.
No matter how good you are as a cook, there are times that disaster happens in the kitchen, and that’s okay. This doesn't have to ruin your day, and fret about it all day long.
That is why we also included a few troubleshooting tips should you encounter any of these mishaps while cooking Adobong Dilaw.
- Adding too much vinegar will result in an acidic sauce, which is unpleasant, especially for your teeth. You can fix this by adding two parts water and one part sugar. The sweetness will balance out the acidity of the vinegar.
- If the turmeric’s intensity is too much for you, balance this out by adding a teaspoonful of calamansi juice. This will remove the unwanted bitterness brought by too much turmeric.
- If the meats take an awful lot of time to get tender, keep simmering the mixture in medium-low heat, and cover the cooking pot. This will trap the heat while continuously cooking the adobo.
Best Serve With
The tasty, flavorful, and savory Adobong Dilaw can better be enjoyed by pairing it with other dishes. For many Filipinos, the best partner for Adobo will always be rice, which is the truth of the matter. But hey, we want to widen your options, so we thought of other dishes that will go well with Adobong Dilaw.
Atcharang Papaya is a ubiquitous pickled papaya fruit that is often paired with fried and savory dishes. The sweet and sour taste of it cleanses the palate of any aftertaste of foods. Having said that, the intense flavor of the Adobong Dilaw is nothing that atchara can’t handle.
- Taco Fried Rice
This Mexican-inspired is packed with aroma and flavors, making it the perfect canvass for our equally flavorful Adobong Dilaw. The explosion of flavors in your mouth is sure to make you ask for another serving.
As we all know, the best way to enjoy any Adobo is to pair it with rice. The fluffy, and somehow bland taste of the rice makes it the best partner of the dish. The grains sops up the sauce so that it becomes almost the dish itself.
For that reason, Java Rice is not far from being the best pair for the equally flavor-packed Adobong Dilaw.
The Philippines is rich in history and in dishes that are on par with the dishes that are famous in other parts of the world. This unassuming dish has won many people’s hearts, not just the Filipino but even foreigners, that they even took the time to learn the recipe. That’s how famous our Adobo and Adobong Dilaw is.
And with the things that we have shared with you, we know that you can now confidently cook the Best Adobong Dilaw at home. And you may even be able to make your version of it if you will be confident enough.
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
- 1 tablespoon Cooking oil
- 1 pc Large onion cubed
- 1 head Garlic minced
- 1 thumb Turmeric sliced
- 1 lb Pork diced
- ½ cup Vinegar
- 1 cup Water
- 1 pc Bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Ground black pepper
- Heat the cooking oil in a cooking pot.
- Saute garlic, onion and turmeric. Cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Then add the pork. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
- Then add the bay leaf and cook for another 5 minutes while covered over low heat.
- After 5 minutes, pour-in water and vinegar and cook for another 20 minutes over medium heat. Wait until the meat gets tender.
- Ready to serve. Enjoy!