“Nothing warms you up on a chilly night like a bowl of chili.” - Anonymous
If you are the kind of person who loves spicy food, here's a unique yet inexpensive, delicious Filipino dish called spicy pork adobo. Indeed, it is a twist on the regular pork adobo recipe.
This version has an intense flavor and a little kick courtesy of the dry red chili. Preparing this variation is similar to making any other pork adobo meal. The difference would probably be more on the ingredients rather than the procedure. A generous amount of oyster sauce is added to have a thicker texture and have more umami flavor.
What Is This Pork Adobo Dish
During the Pre-Colonial Period, Filipinos were keen on keeping their food last because of our country's tropical climate. For that reason, they used vinegar and salt in their recipes to have the meals last longer. So when the Spaniards came in the early 17th century, they encountered our unique cooking method. A Spanish missionary named Pedro de San Buenaventura called it adobo de Los naturales which means "adobo of the native people" in his compiled dictionary.
This course is one of the most popular Philippine cuisines. It is somehow being compared to the Spanish version, but ours has a different cooking process and methods. Filipinos have also recreated and modified this course using various ingredients and use not only meat. It is present in almost every Filipino celebration, be it birthdays, weddings, fiestas, and holidays. However, it is not only present during those occasions. It can be a perfect course for your everyday meals, too, especially for lunch and dinner.
This course can be made using chicken, pork, seafood, beef, or even vegetables as the main ingredient. The flesh is marinated with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and pepper for at least one hour. So it is undeniable why the meat's flavorful taste is very evident even with just a bite of it.
There were many variations of this course that were made throughout the decades. One of these is the Spicy Pork Adobo, which uses red chili to add a kick of spice to the typical recipes.
Ways To Cook The Best Spicy Pork Adobo Dish
There are various ways to make and prepare this food to enhance its flavorful and savory taste further. Among the methods are mentioned below.
Using Slow cooker
Using this electrical device is one of the ideal ways to tenderize the meat for your pork adobo, or even when you use chicken, fish, or beef. The method allows the flesh to soften slowly while bringing out its natural flavor and, at the same time, absorbing the spices and seasonings.
However, keep in mind minimizing or reducing the water you add if you prefer to use this method as it does not boil the water away. Reduce your water to one-third (⅓) or one-half (½) of the suggested amount in the recipes. This way, your food will not turn out flavorless and watery.
Using Pressure cooker
If you are in a rush in preparing this particular food, you may opt to switch to this method. It can reduce the tenderizing time for your chicken, beef, or fish by up to 70 percent. It maintains the food's taste and appearance and removes harmful bacterias because it boils food at temperatures higher than 100 degrees Celsius, tenderizing the meat in a shorter period.
Using Instant Pot
The instant pot is like a combination of the two above mentioned kitchen devices. You only have to put all the ingredients inside and wait until the chicken, beef, or other types of meat tenderize. This method is convenient and efficient, making you finish this course faster while not compromising its quality and taste.
Top Variations of Recipes
Classic Style Recipes
This variant is the typical, and original served in many restaurants, local eateries, and celebrations. It is basically like our featured food, minus the kick of spice brought about by red chili. Classic style is used in chicken, fish, and beef, which are all equally delicious.
Red Adobo Recipes
Instead of soy sauce, this version uses atsuete powder added to the marinade. Atsuete adds flavor and texture to the food, making it tastier and more delicious. It somehow turns the food's color to red, the reason why this version is named such. This version is ideal for pork, chicken, and fish.
Yellow Adobo Recipes
For this version, turmeric or luyang dilaw is used in place of the soy sauce. The yellowish color of the turmeric affects the food making it appear yellow, too. It may differ in color from the classic version, but it tastes incredibly delicious, especially when partnered with a hot bowl of steamed rice. You can try this version with fish, chicken, or pig's meat.
White Adobo Recipes
In this variant, salt replaces the soy sauce in the list of ingredients. Because salt does not add any color to the course, it is named as such. Even if this variation appears a bit pale, it tastes equally savory as the other variations.
With Coconut Milk or Gata
This variation comes from the province of Bicol. They recreated the classic style by adding coconut milk to its recipes. And because Bicolanos are known to be fond of spicy foods, it is not a surprise that this version has chili, too. Because of the coconut milk added, you can expect a creamy and more flavorful meat flesh that perfectly blends with a spoonful of hot, steamed rice inside your mouth.
Whether you are on a tight budget or want a different variation of this course, you might want to try this variation. This variation uses any fish, be it tilapia, galunggong, or yellowfin. Since fish flesh has a softer texture than meat, you have to take note of your boiling or simmering time. This way, you will not disintegrate your fish while boiling it. You may also opt to fry the fish first to ensure that its shape and form is maintained.
If you want to savor this delicious food but, unfortunately, you are a vegan or hate meat, do not worry! You can also use vegetables like squash, string beans, eggplants, and many more. You can still enjoy the savory goodness of this food without sacrificing your healthy diet.
Although this is just a modification to an already loved meal, it is also subject to negative flavors. See below for some samples and tips to fix them.
- Too Spicy- While this course should be spicy, as its name suggests, it still shouldn't be too much that it would already be a hassle to eat it. Thus, if your finished product becomes too spicy, use a spoon, remove some chilies from the pan, and add cream or butter as they can wash away chili's spicy properties.
- Too sour- Like the classic style, this spicy variation also has vinegar in it, so there is a tendency to encounter this kitchen problem. So when this happens, you only have to add sugar or honey to counteract this and save your food.
- Too salty- Soy sauce is already salted, and we forget that sometimes, so we add more salt while making our food. When this happens to your version, you can add more dairy products, like milk, or add bulky carbs, like potatoes. Also, you can add more meat. Then, check the taste if it goes back on track. Lastly, you may add peanut butter or squeeze lemon over it. Aside from salvaging your too spicy meal, it's also an opportunity to discover a new twist to this food.
To make sure you have flavorful food after your hard work in the kitchen, here are some helpful tips to consider.
- To avoid imbalance in the taste, do the taste-then-add technique. Meaning, taste it first before adding each flavoring spice to it, like adding salt to it.
- Since vinegar is a processed product already, you may use calamansi to marinate the meat. This way, it will be more organic.
- If you are brave enough and want it very spicy, use dried chili to contain more capsaicin.
- The dry red chili makes this featured food spicy. Although it tastes like pork adobo, it portrays a more assertive character because of its spiciness.
- The "wild chili" of the Philippines, or sometimes called "Filipino Bird's Eye Chili," may be tiny, but – like the Thai chilies they are often mistaken for – they pack a punch well beyond their size. Siling Labuyo is popular in Filipino cuisine to bring spiciness to a meal. However, nowadays, they are becoming increasingly harder to the source – they have been marked as an endangered heritage food.
- Siling labuyo accelerates our metabolism and also warms the body. Thus, it is easier for us to get rid of calories (burn calories) to slim down. Also, according to some studies, peppers can prevent diabetes. It has also been found that chili lowers blood sugar.
Other Foods Perfect to Serve with
This course will either make you sweat and ask for more or will make you cry and give up on it. Thus, to be sure that you are experiencing the former, you can serve your delicious food with the following equally delicious sides, too:
- Rice- it's a staple on every dining table, whether the viand fried or with soup, and with it while enjoying your food is just logical because rice absorbs chili capsaicin.
- Potatoes- if rice is not your thing, try having potatoes on the side, which is also a carb. While this can be added directly to your food, some opt to have it separately.
- Milk- put down that glass of cold water you are holding; it won't help. Instead, to push the food down to your stomach, drink milk. Most importantly, milk can wash away the spicy property of chili.
- Leche Flan– for the dessert, it's the perfect choice because it is sweet and is with dairy products, like fresh milk and condensed milk that wash away capsaicin. It's a win-win thing; you lessen the food's spiciness and have a mouthwatering dessert at the same time.
Let's face it; you are what you eat. Your food choices mirror your personality, but at the same time, it also reflects on the place, people, and culture that make up your background.
Our penchant for spicy foods is what separates us from other nationalities. They favor food that is bursting with enticing color and an intense, hot flavor and taste.
Spicy food lovers are likely to be thrill-seekers that love adventures. Also, they welcome life's most formidable challenges as to how they savor striking spicy dishes. Although a traditional pork adobo is not spicy, it's just a perfect modification to add a more intense kick to an already strong contender for the Philippine National Food title.
This course is indeed one for the books! And with all the information we have given you through this article, we hope you can create your version of it successfully and share it with your family and loved ones.
Make sure to have fun in the kitchen!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Spicy Pork Adobo Recipe
- Measuring Cups
- 2 lb Pork Belly Cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 Piece Onion (Sliced Thinly) Optional
- 1 Clove Garlic Peeled and Minced
- 2 Pieces Dried Bay Leaves
- 1 tablespoon Sugar You can add more according to your desired level of sweetness
- ½ tablespoon Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Vinegar
- ½ Cup Soy Sauce
- 1-2 Cups Water
- 6 Pieces Dry Red Chili Crushed
- 3 tablespoon Cooking oil
- Salt to taste
- In a bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and pepper. Mix well and marinate pork belly for at least 1 hour.
- Heat the pan and put in the marinated pork belly.
- Toss in bay leaves and onions. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the pork is tender already.TIP: You can add more water if the pork is not yet tender.
- Set aside the pork when tender.
- Heat oil in another pan, medium fry the pork. Then transfer into a bowl and set aside.
- Remove some oil from the pan before pouring the sauce & pork into it.
- Sprinkle it with chopped cayenne pepper on top and simmer for the last 2 minutes.
- Serve hot and enjoy!