With love from Philippines

With love from Philippines

It’s ten years since I moved to India, and Bengaluru welcomed me to its warmth. I was born in Samar and grew up in Manila, Philippines. Cooking is something I picked up as a child, when I was living with my aunt. I loved watching her cook and that is how I learnt cooking.

Oriental flavours dominate our food and our food is saucy. Also, since the area is a coastal one, we have an abundance of seafood. A typical Filipino dish is influenced by the Spaniards and the Chinese. Filipinos eat a lot of rice as it is our staple diet. We can eat it as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, we don’t have the concept of vegetarian food. All our dishes have meat and vegetables in it.

Here, I am sharing the recipe of a famous Filipino dish, which is loved a lot by many, all over the world. Whenever I cook for my Indian friends in the City, this is a dish they often request for and I enjoy making it.

Adobo means ‘marinade’ or ‘sauce’ and is the immersion of raw food in a stock (or sauce). In Spain, the original marinade is made of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar to preserve and enhance the meat's flavour. It is also said that cooking with vinegar preserves the meat. This method is considered as one of the earliest food preservation practices.

While it is believed that the Filipinos learnt this from the Spaniards who colonised the Philippines for more than three centuries from the 1500s, historians claim that the Filipinos were already doing this food preparation technique. The Spaniards who named this dish ‘adobo’, because it had some similarities to the Spanish ‘adobo’ version of food marination.

One can prepare this dish with chicken (most popular), or pork, or combine two meats too for this dish. ‘Chicken adobo’ is a dish, which has very simple ingredients and the preparation process is easy, yet the final product is tasty.

One doesn’t need to have any prior cooking experience to prepare this dish. According to me, the secret of a delicious ‘adobo’ relies in the way you balance the soya sauce and vinegar. It is best to use a non-synthetic vinegar for best results. Another secret to the dish, is to slightly brown the garlic, which will enhance the flavour.

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