In Mexican cuisine, adobo is the seasoning / marinade while adobada is a dish of meat marinated in adobo. If you’re a Filipino, despite the copious amount of garlic and vinegar in the seasoning, this is nothing like the adobo that your mother and grandmother cooked.
So, this is authentic Mexican adobada? Hmmm… mostly. I used Korean chili flakes which are sweeter and the heat is milder. The garlic was roasted — not traditional in Mexican adobo. If only because of those two ingredients, I prefer to call this a fusion dish with Mexican flavors. Absolutely delicious!
Make the adobo sauce before you cook your adobada. If you prefer to distribute the work, you can make the sauce a day ahead, and keep it in a covered jar in the fridge. That should give it time for the flavors to deepen. In fact, you can make the adobo sauce in bulk and freeze them in portions. That way, you don’t have to make the sauce every time you crave adobada.
Very lean meat is not recommended because the vinegar in the sauce will dry it out fast. I personally prefer pork belly but pork shoulder (also referred to as pork butt or Boston butt even though the cut is from the neck and shoulder, and even if the pig was slaughtered nowhere near Boston) or pork hock will make an equally delectable adobada.
Mexican-style pork adobada
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 2 whole bulbs roasted garlic peeled
- 1 tablespoon Korean chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
- ½ cup vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Place all the ingredients for the adobo in the blender or food processor and process until pasty.
- Cut the pork belly into two-inch cubes.
- Heat the cooking oil in a thick-bottomed pot.
- Brown the pork cubes in the hot oil.
- Add the adobo and cook, stirring, until the pork cubes are coated in the seasoning.
- Pour in the broth and stir.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and cook the pork for an hour or longer.
- Taste the sauce twice or thrice during cooking, and add more salt or sugar, or both, as needed.
- If the liquid dries up before the pork is tender, add more broth, no more than a quarter cup at a time.
- The pork adobada is done when the pork is tender and the sauce has reduced to a thick paste.