The town of Taal in Batangas claims proprietary rights over the origin of adobong dilaw, a regional variant of adobo cooked with fresh turmeric.
Where adobo sa tanglad hails from, I have no idea. It appears though to be more well-known than the variant with turmeric.
In this recipe, I combined the two adobo variants by cooking cubes of fatty pork kasim (shoulder) in vinegar with turmeric and lemongrass plucked from our garden. No soy sauce — the salty component is supplied by patis (fish sauce). The result is the most aromatic adobo I have cooked in my entire life.
The success of this dish lies not only in the use of the freshest herbs and spices but also in choosing the correct meat cut. While just about any part of the pig can be used, choose a cut with a generous amount of fat. Without the fat, adobo tastes flat. I used kasim (shoulder) to cook my adobo but belly is an even better choice.
See how to prepare lemongrass before you start cooking.
Adobo sa dilaw (turmeric) at tanglad (lemongrass)
- 800 grams pork shoulder (belly is a better choice), cut into two-inch cubes
- 1/3 cups vinegar with turmeric (or use plain vinegar and 1 tbsp. of julienned fresh turmeric)
- 6 cloves garlic , pounded and peeled
- 3 stalks lemongrass , lightly pounded
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- patis (fish sauce) to taste
- Place the pork cubes in a shallow pan wide enough to hold them in a single layer.
- Pour in the vinegar. Add the rest of the ingredients except the patis. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring until the liquid is reduced to half.
- Stir the pork. Continue cooking with occasional stirring until the vinegar has been absorbed by the meat and pork fat has been visibly rendered.
- Fry the pork cubes in the rendered pork fat until browned.
- Pour in enough water to cover the meat. Season with patis.
- Bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for at least an hour. By the end of the cooking time, the pork should be very tender and the mixture should be almost dry save for the rendered fat.
- Serve the adobo with rice. As with any stew, it is even better the next day.