Adobo, oh the ever famous adobo, often called the unofficial National Food of our beloved Philippines. Who could ever resist its carnival of flavors, it’s saltiness entwined with the acidity of the vinegar then highlighted by a mild hint of sweetness. Adobo is to a Filipino as pizza is to an Italian, and each household has their version of this.
Adobo’s prestige is not just confined in our archipelago, as it has already reached foreign shores as well. Overseas Filipino workers brought with them their heirloom recipe of cooking this trademark dish, putting their twist on it. And do not think for one second that this dish is just for household consumption because Adobo is a standard offering as well in restaurants and hotels, and a must-try for foreigners visiting the country for the first time.
Using vinegar as a cooking and preserving agent has been used by our ancestors long before the Spaniards came to our shores. Vinegar helps in prolonging the shelf life of foods as a means of keeping food fresh, especially in a tropical country like ours, where the climate is unpredictable. Adobo, a Spanish term that roughly means to cook/marinate meat in salt and vinegar, is used to describe this process. Over time, other ingredients are added to the original recipe, one of which is soy sauce, which gives it it’s dark caramel color that everyone is familiar with.
However, our featured adobo recipe for this article is bordering on the exotic side. And if you’re that kind person who does not have an adventurous palate, then this might not interest you that much. Because this time, we will be using Pigs intestine as our main component. But believe me when I say that this recipe can change the way you think about an exotic offering, particularly innards.
So in this recipe blog, our goal is to teach you the ways on how this uncommonly used part can bring you that adobo magic and satisfaction. Let’s not make this any longer and allow us to share with you how to make the best Adobong Isaw.
What Is Adobong Isaw Ng Baboy
Adobong Isaw is similar to traditional pork or chicken adobo; the significant difference is that pig intestine is used in place of pork or chicken meat.
The innards are cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, black pepper, and salt. Then bay leaves are added to give it a fragrant aroma.
In rural areas, seeing a whole pig being slaughtered and prepared by experienced cooks is a regular sight to behold. The usual parts, like the entire head, are used for sisig or crispy ulo, while the remaining parts like ribs and legs, are used for other dishes. Meanwhile, the innards are sometimes thrown away, so people found a way to put them to good use and thus, giving birth to Adobong Isaw.
Our ancestors are known for their ingenuity and resourcefulness, traits that enabled them to withstand hundreds of years of colonial rule but still preserve their identity. Many of our indigenous dishes were created because of these traits like Dinuguan (Pig’s Blood Stew) Leche Flan ( custard made from egg yolks discarded after workers used the egg whites as a cementing agent when building churches). Like the ones listed above, our features dish is a product of our ancestors’ creative and resourceful minds.
This adobo variant can be considered as an exotic delight because the main meat used is intestine. It was employed as a means of not wasting any usable parts. And turning it into adobo is a perfect choice, all thanks to this recipe’s versatility.
As weird or unusual this dish might be, it is a prized pulutan ( finger food of pica-pica) partnered with beer or any alcoholic drink. And for foodies who are trying to explore odd or exotic food, then cooking this dish is an excellent inclusion on your list of recipes to try.
Ways To Cook Adobong Isaw Ng Baboy
Though it may appear that cooking Adobong Isaw is just limited to its traditional way due to the simplicity of its ingredients, you might be pleasantly surprised as we have listed down some other methods that will let you cook this sumptuous dish.
Classic Adobong Isaw
The classic adobong isaw, as stated, is cooked the traditional way. The intestines are cleansed first, then boiled with vinegar to remove the stench. Then it is simmered in a pot with the necessary ingredients such as vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, garlic, and black pepper until the intestines are cooked thoroughly. And to achieve that savory taste, the organ meat is then lightly fried, and the sauce mixture is added afterward.
Pressure Cooker Adobong Isaw
In this method, the sauteing process is omitted, and therefore adding oil is no longer needed. All the ingredients are thrown into the pot, and the pressure build-up inside the cooker allows the sauce to penetrate the intestines. The good thing about using a pressure cooker for this Adobong Isaw recipe is that it cuts the cooking time from the usual two hours to just 15 minutes. The pressure also aids in softening the intestines quickly, as it is known that organ meat is tough and takes a little longer time to be cooked thoroughly.
Stir-Fried Adobong Isaw
Stir-frying food is one excellent method of extracting the flavors of ingredients. High heat breaks down the fibers of ingredients allowing them to be concentrated into the sauce. In high heat setting, sautee the par-boiled intestines with garlic until the aroma of the garlic fuses with the organ meat. Then add in the vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and black pepper. Allow the sauce mixture to be reduced in half before serving it. You may also add the slurry to thicken the sauce slightly.
Adobo might sound like a one-dimensional dish as its preparation and cooking method hasn’t changed that much since it’s conception. Nevertheless, the variations that can be done with our Adobong Isaw is not limited to just one. That’s why we listed some of the varieties which you can attempt to cook at home.
Crispy Adobong Isaw
This variation is a sure-fire way of enjoying this exotic offering of Adobo. It will require you to follow a few cooking processes, but we guarantee you that this will be a hit. Proceed with cooking the intestines as indicated in our recipe for cooking the best Adobong Isaw, then scoop out the innards from the sauce and give it some time to be drained. Then combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper and lightly coat the intestines in the breading and deep fry them in oil until golden brown. I’m sure that this will be a hit with your friends and is going to be a requested pulutan.
Spicy Adobong Isaw
Adding chilies in our dishes adds another layer of flavor, and the additional heat in the food gives us that urge to eat more. And if you’re that person who loves spicy food, then this variant is a spot on for you. The spiciness of the chilies helps in cutting down the grease of the intestine. It has been proven as well that capsaicin found in chilies reduces the damaging effect of bad cholesterol.
Adobong Isaw sa Gata (Coconut Milk)
The Philippines is a tropical country, and because of that, tropical trees like coconut can be found everywhere. Coconut is dubbed as the “tree of life,” and there are a lot of good reasons why. Its trunk and leaves can be used for housing parts such as walls, beams, and roofing.
However, the most commonly used part of the coconut is its fruit. Coconut milk has a vibrant and creamy flavor when added to dishes. And that creaminess complements the rich flavor profile of the pig intestines while masking its strong scent. Cook the Adobong Isaw as is, then add the coconut milk once the intestines are cooked thoroughly. We suggest that you let the coconut milk be cooked until its oil surfaces and the sweet smell of the milk are noticeable.
Adobong Isaw ng Manok ( Chicken Intestines)
Chicken intestines are a lot smaller in size compared to pigs, and thus they require a shorter amount of time to be cooked. And its price is lower than the pig’s intestines, so if you are on a budget, then this variation is right for you. Make sure that the chicken intestine is pre-boiled first in water and vinegar to remove its strong odor. Then proceed with the steps indicated in the recipe until the sauce mixture is reduced in half. And for that extra kick, I highly suggest putting in chopped red chilies.
Adobong Isaw na Puti (White Adobo)
We are all familiar with the dark-caramel color of the Adobo because of the soy sauce. But have you heard of Adobong Puti? It sounds complicated right, but it’s relatively simple to cook. The process of preparing this version is similar to the traditional way, just omit the soy sauce from the list of ingredients. As for the salty component, use a bit more salt to compensate for the omission of soy sauce.
Committing mistakes while cooking is sometimes unavoidable due to unforeseen circumstances, but knowing how to fix and remedy those mistakes is a great relief. And if you encounter mishaps while cooking Adobong Isaw, we listed down some troubleshooting steps that you can take to try and make the recipe work.
- Salty Adobo sauce
If the sauce tends to be salty, chances are you may have put a bit too much of the soy sauce. To tone it down, gradually add water to the dish until you reach the right amount of saltiness. Sprinkling calamansi will also work wonders, as it will cut down on the saltiness while adding a hint of zest and sweetness to the sauce.
- Sour or too acidic sauce
Vinegar is the culprit in this case, and you may have put more than the necessary amount. Try adding soy sauce mixed with a small amount of sugar to reduce the acidity of the sauce and allow it to simmer until the excess acid dissipates.
- The scent of the intestine is too strong
The problem usually encountered by home cooks and even professional chefs when cooking innards is the strong scent. This is pretty normal since we are talking about internal organs. So if in the event that your dish is giving off a strong odor coming from the organ meat, add vinegar and bat leaves to the sauce and allow the Adobong Isaw to simmer. The acidity of the vinegar and the aroma of the bay leaves is going to mask the strong odor of the intestines.
- Too much sauce
If the meat is drenched in too much sauce, try simmering the dish longer until the sauce is reduced in half. A little slurry might also help in thickening the sauce.
As a way of maybe, helping you change your prejudice about organ meat, we have also included some of the health benefits of this humble ingredient.
- Vitamin B12
B12 vitamin is responsible for keeping our blood and nerve cells healthy and functioning correctly.
Folates found in organ meats keep the red and white blood cells in our bone marrow healthy.
Organ meats, such as pig intestine is a good source of protein.
Prevention is better than cure, so the saying goes, and this can be applied in cooking as well. And before you go crying over spilled milk, we want to share with you tips on how you can prevent mishaps from happening while you’re cooking.
- Organ meats, especially intestines, possess a naturally strong odor. So to suppress or remove that smell, par-boil the organ meat in water mixed with vinegar and salt until tender.
- When buying innards for your next dish, make sure to buy only the newly slaughtered ones. That way, the pungent smell of meat is not that strong.
- After par-boiling the innards, squeeze out all the residue to avoid having the bitter taste in the sauce.
- Use a lot of garlic when sauteing to add a deep aroma into the dish while masking the sharp, pungent smell of the innards.
Best Served With
This dish’s versatility makes it a suitable partner for some other dishes. It’s a simple yet profound layer of flavors complementing many other dishes. However, let us start with the most common partner of this viand.
No Filipino meal can be complete without rice. The blandness of the rice goes well with the salty and sour taste of the Adobong Isaw.
- Sinangag (Fried Rice)
The slightly crunchy texture of the fried rice paired with the tender and succulent intestine is a perfect pair for one’s taste buds. As they say, Adobo tastes better a day after it has been cooked, and so it is a fitting partner for sinangag to start your day.
- Beer and any alcoholic beverages
Adobong isaw rose to its status today as a choice pulutan for many Filipinos. Just be mindful of taking in too much booze as innards are high in fats, so too much of it may lead to unfavorable results.
With its long history that predates even the colonial period, the variations of Adobo should be no surprise to us. It represents our indomitable spirit and ingenuity, our ability to use whatever is available for consumption so that we can offer food to our families.
And we desire that with the help of this article, you will have a deeper appreciation of this dish. And with all the things we’ve shared with you, we hope that you will have that confidence in cooking the best Adobong Isaw to serve your loved ones.
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Adobong Isaw ng Baboy (Pig’s Intestine) Recipe
- 1 lb Pig's Intestine cleaned
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 pc Laurel
- 2 cups Water
- 1/4 tbsp Black Pepper
- 1 cup Cooking Oil
- 2 tbsp Vinegar
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- In a casserole or pot, combine pig's intestine, laurel and 2 cups of water.
- Add the black pepper, garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce. Cook and simmer for 20 minutes or until the intestine gets tender.
- After boiling, heat oil in a pan and fry the intestine until brown. Then remove the oil after frying.
- In the same pan with the fried intestine, pour the sauce and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve while hot!