Alex cooked risotto last night. To make the broth that she needed, she simmered two pork leg bones. After straining the broth, I inspected the bones and discovered that there was a lot of meat in them. I knew that a lot of the rich meaty flavor had already gone into the broth but, still, I didn’t want to throw away the meat. I flaked the pork meat, put it in the fridge and, today, I cooked crispy slow-fried adobo flakes.
There is a recipe for flash-fried adobo flakes in the archive. But there was no way I was going to flash-fry unseasoned scrap meat. I’ve never believed that dousing bland meat with sauce after cooking is a good thing. I’m a believer in layering flavors. So, I opted for the technique shared by a reader—slow-frying. While the meat fried over low heat, the seasonings were added during various stages of cooking.
Crispy Slow-fried Adobo Flakes
- 2 to 4 tablespoons cooking oil depending on the amount of fat in the pork
- 3 cups shredded cooked fatty pork (chilled or at room temperature)
- 1 head garlic minced
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup vinegar (you may want more)
- 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- salt optional
Heat two tablespoons of cooking oil in the frying pan. Spread the shredded pork on the entire bottom of the pan. Sprinkle in the garlic and quarter teaspoon of black pepper. Add the bay leaves.
Pour in the vinegar. Cook over medium heat until the vinegar has been fully absorbed by the meat.
Pour in the soy sauce. Sprinkle in the sugar. Stir the pork. Set the heat to low. Cook the pork, stirring occasionally, until the pork fat is rendered. If there isn't enough fat in the pork, you will need to add the rest of the cooking oil little by little. There is no way that the shredded pork will turn crisp unless there is enough fat in the pan.
Once there is enough fat for the pork to cook in, the shredded meat will turn crisp slowly. Stir often to see how texture of the meat is changing. Taste once in a while too and add more seasonings, if needed. Pouring in more soy sauce is NOT recommended as it will make the adobo flakes too dark. If you want to add saltiness, sprinkle in salt.
The slow-frying process takes about 20 minutes. This excludes the time that the pork was allowed to absorb the vinegar at the start of the cooking time. Don't hurry up the process. The shredded pork will cook evenly if allowed to fry in enough fat slowly.
Serve the crispy slow-fried adobo flakes over rice with fried egg on the side. Optionally, sprinkle with sliced scallions and fried garlic.