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Feb 23, 2007 04:11 PM

Filipino Adobo Demo at Ferry Plaza Market Tomorrow

One of the best Filipino chefs anywhere, Romy Dorotan of Cendrillon in NY, will be doing the cooking demo sponsored by CUESA tomorrow. It will be held under the arches near Taylor's Refresher at 11:30. I was told by Amy Besa, Chef Dorotan's wife, that the demo will be a simple Filipino adobo. I'm not sure if it will be chicken, pork or both.

But based on the Adobong Poussin Relleno* that I tasted at their book launching dinner a couple of nights ago, their adobo is one worth learning, even if it isn't the elaborate creation I enjoyed. The sauce had that perfect balance of deep, mellow, sour-salty-garlicky flavors that characterizes the best Filipino adobo. (The cookbook, "Memories of Philippine Kitchens" is probably the best all-around book on Filipino cuisine I have ever read. More on that on another board, another day.)

* A tiny deboned chicken stuffed with chorizo, ground pork, chicken liver and quail egg, first roasted then braised in adobo sauce, the mere memory of which makes me salivate.

N.B., Though I had never met them before Wednesday, Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan are friends of friends.

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  1. Kung puwede magtanong, ano nangyari sa demo?

    19 Replies
      1. re: DezzerSF

        Ooooh, I'd better watch it ;-) Looks like there are some people who could catch me out if I'm not careful with my Tagalog and Filipino food info. No faking it with this crowd.

        The demo was well-attended, every seat taken, and lots more people suddenly appearing at the end to taste the adobo. (Must have been that irresistible garlic-vinegar aroma that drew in so many people that I didn't get any adobo myself.) So I am sorry that I can't report on the taste of the adobo, but if the smell was any indication, it was certainly a proper Filipino adobo.

        On the issue of what sort of ingredients to use for adobo, the chef indicated a strong preference for organic chicken. Vinegar--they use Marukan rice vinegar. Besa and Dorotan said that wine vinegars tend to be too harsh, but that only natural vinegars should be used--never ever that citric(?) acid and water stuff!

        They marinate, then simmer the adobo in the marinade, and then brown the chicken under the broiler while cooking down the sauce to thicken it. Then they strain the sauce before simmering the meat some more. They occasionally mash chicken liver into the sauce.

        Hope this answers your questions.

        1. re: pilinut

          I have never seen vinegar made from citric acid. Vinegar is acetic acid and water. Citric acid is found in citrus fruits.

          I just wanted to clarify.

          1. re: chemchef

            Thank you! You're absolutely right. Even as I wrote I remembered thinking: citric acid + water--wasn't that the emergency subsititute (yuck) for lemon juice? Must now remember to avoid acetic acid as a substitute as well.

            1. re: pilinut

              Acetic acid is, by definition, vinegar. It would therefore not be a substitute.

          2. re: pilinut

            Ganda! Maraming salamat po. I like the separation of chicken to the broiler and the reduction and addition of chicken liver in the sauce. All makes good sense for an improved adobo! I'll do it this way next time. Sayang you couldn't get a taste.

            1. re: pilinut

              I love learning about the broiling to brown! I can't believe I (or my family) have not thought of that. So much healthier than frying after, and still get crispiness.

              Thanks for reporting.

              1. re: pilinut

                I know you posted this waaaayyyy wayy back in 2007 (god...i was still in high school lol) but im interested in your experience with "Memories of Philippine Kitchens". I just bought it the other day and have yet to cook out of it. Do you have any favorites from the book? Are there recipes that didn't turn out so well? I may go to their Purple Yam Restaurant since its only a subway ride away from me in hopes of getting my book signed.

                I ask other Chowhounders to forgive me for bringing this topic back. There is no Filipino Adobo Demo at the Ferry Plaza Market tomorrow. xD

                1. re: germanpotatosoup

                  Well, congratulations on your HS graduation :-) and on the many other milestones in the past 5 years! I'm glad you got the book, even though a lot of it--appropriately--harks back to decades before my own HS graduation, which was over a decade (I shall not elaborate) before yours.

                  As for cooking from the book, I have to admit, I've only done Amy Besa's adobo, and it worked quite well for me. (Of course, you do realize that you will inevitably tweak the adobo to your own taste. I've gotten around to leaving off the soy sauce and adding a bit of azuete/achiote solution. )

                  You must search out the long adobo thread on the Home Cooking Board--where you might also do well to post your inquiry about the book. Lots of interesting and informative stuff on adobo, complete with commentary from the much-missed, iconic Hound Sam Fujisaka.

                  1. re: pilinut

                    A bit off-topic here, pilinut, but can you share your favorite adobo recipe here with me, or else point me to the right place to find a great one. I love it to bits, even had it in Seoul (yup, Korea - you read it right) a while back:

                    P.S. - I also bought a copy of "Memories of Philippine Kitchens" about a few years ago from Kinokuniya in Singapore.

                    1. re: klyeoh

                      I'm not pilinut, but I'm sharing my take on adobo anyway:
                      2 lbs. cut up chicken (or thighs and legs)
                      1 tbsp. sugar
                      6 cloves garlic, smashed
                      15 black peppercorns
                      1 c. apple cider vinegar
                      1/4 c. soy sauce
                      chili or sambal to taste
                      2 bay leaves
                      water to cover

                      Combine first 7 ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot to marinate for 30 minutes. Add bay and enough water to cover and braise until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken and garlic from liquid with a slotted spoon and reduce liquid by half. Fry reserved and dried chicken and garlic until crispy and serve drizzled with the adobo reduction.

                      1. re: klyeoh

                        Hi, klyeoh! I've enjoyed many of your posts, vicariously visiting many places in Asia I'd love to see, or to see again, and I'm so pleased you like adobo! Perhaps JungMann and I should start a new thread on adobo on the Home Cooking Board.

                        Adobo is a lot of fun to make because it lends itself so well to variation, and it is so forgiving that a decent cook will be hard-pressed to mess it up. I never make adobo exactly the same way twice, and I don't measure, but here is a good approximation:

                        1 kg pork with some fat--shoulder, meaty ribs, or even belly--cut in 5 cm chunks
                        vegetable oil (or rendered pork fat, if you prefer) for browining
                        250 ml vinegar: palm, coconut, rice vinegar, or even distilled would work
                        1 head garlic, roughly crushed--around 3 heaping tablespoons
                        1 tablespoon black peppercorns, lightly cracked
                        4-5 bay leaves

                        Salt the pork and brown the pieces in batches on all sides in a pot big enough to hold all the meat. Drain any fat you think is excessive and return the pork to the casserole. Add the vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Add enough water and/or vinegar to bring the liquid to just under the level of the meat, cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until tender. Add the optional achiote water and/or livers and cook a bit longer. Adjust seasoning.

                        You can stop cooking at this point and let the adobo rest at least a day (as it is not nearly as good as it will be in a day or more, and it keeps for weeks in the fridge). I like to take the meat out, reduce the sauce until it thickens enough to coat the meat, and return the pork to the pan, cooking until the meat is fork tender and the sauce is concentrated. (This is where a fattier cut really shines!)

                        optional variations:
                        a) soak 1 tablespoon achiote seeds in 60 ml hot water until water is red, discard seeds;
                        b) chicken livers--2-12 pieces, depending on how much you like liver, to be added during the last 15 minutes of cooking, with at least 2 mashed into the sauce;
                        c) use 1/2 kg each pork and chicken, preferably thighs cut in half, instead of just pork

                        I hope you enjoy this recipe, and enjoy creating your own variations! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

                        1. re: pilinut

                          Lovely - thanks so much, pilinut. I shall treasure this.

                          I had my first taste of adobo cooked by a Filipina diplomat who was attached to the Philippine embassy in Singapore - she lived with her family next door to us. That was many years back. I remembered her also making a rich, milky version using chicken & pork, adding coconut milk to the soy-vinegar mix. The sauce was strong & garlicky, scented with a couple of bay leaves.. She called it simply "adobong gata".

                        2. re: klyeoh

                          Here's the link to the old adobo thread--a great example of Chowhound discussions the source of much fun, enlightenment, and some good recipe ideas. JungMann featured prominently and knowledgeably in the discussion.


                        3. re: pilinut

                          I realize that they said that wine vinegars are too harsh but when I looked at the adobo recipe, it reminded me of the Lyonnaise dish, Poulet au Vinaigre. I may make those dishes within the same week to see how the addition of coconut milk and soy sauce influences the flavor profile. Hopefully, my experiencing in making it will be as successful as yours as I would love to attempt to make the Adobong Poussin Relleno you mentioned. Im taking a guess that combining their relleno (or some other type of chicken ballontine recipe) and adobo recipe will get me closer to the dish you sampled. Of course, that would be tough without having had the dish myself.

                          1. re: germanpotatosoup

                            I've made the adobo sa gata (coconut milk) several times, though not recently, and it is delicious, too! Especially if you add a chili or two. (I'm a bit concerned about the soy sauce and coconut milk combination though. . . Let me know how it works out if you do try it.)

                            I've seen a recipe for poulet au vinagire, and it did remind me of adobo. But as I've never had it, I'm limited to speculating how similar it would be. The one non-Filipino dish that reminded me most of my grandmother's adobo was, oddly, a pigeon dish I had in Assisi. i could have sworn it had liver in it, but the recipe I've seen for piccione al Assisi (spelling is a guess) seems to be a red wine and anchovy sauce.

                            1. re: germanpotatosoup

                              I never considered how similar poulet au vinaigre is to an adobo enriched with coconut milk instead of butterfat. It's worth some experimentation, but I tend to agree that wine vinegar has too much of an edge for something that should seamlessly taste salty, sour, sweet and rich all at the same time. But experiment away and prove me wrong! And while you're at it, feel free to report back on the adobong relleno. The citrus soy marinade for rellenong manok lends itself so well to adobo, I wish I had thought of it before!

                  2. I grew up on adobo made with regular old household vinegar (the kind you can use as a cleaner!). So for me, adobo made with other, fancified vinegar, doesn't taste right to me.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mrs bacon

                      There's absolutely nothing wrong with "household" vinegar! I was at one of my favorite Filipino restaurants in Manila (Adriatico Arms Coffee Shop), and I asked what kind of vinegar the cook was using for the fantastic kilawin tanigue (Spanish mackerel ceviche). I thought it would be some special artisanal vinegar. Response: Del Monte.

                      Also, the Philippine white vinegars I've found here have been very disappointing: not enough of a bite, so I've had to doctor them with sherry vinegar or use vinegar carried from Manila when making adobo. I'm going to try the Marukan rice vinegar next. It tastes promising. At the risk of sounding disloyal to mya country, I think you're really better off with good old Heinz or Del Monte white vinegar than any of the standard Philippine vinegars available here.