More than eight years ago, I was told about Adobo Republic’s Adobo Diablo. Knowing how the devil is associated with the heat of hell, I knew it would be spicy hot. I cooked my version without having gone to Adobo Republic nor having tried its Adobo Diablo. I still haven’t but I’ve made another spicy pork adobo. This time, I used two kinds of chilies — dried bird’s eye chili flakes (Speedy chops them, dry roasts them and keeps them in a jar so we never run out of chili flakes) and slices of finger chilies.
Cooks who have worked extensively with chilies know that there is a trick to balance the heat from the chilies. Sweet and hot go together well. To make something hot less painful in the mouth, adding something sweet to the dish is the way to go. And, in many cases, that “something sweet” is coconut milk or coconut cream. If you’ve wondered what makes Thai dishes so wonderfully delicious, the combination of chilies and coconut milk or cream may be an important factor. That is the very principle that I applied in cooking this chili pork adobo with coconut cream. And it is so rich and delicious.
Chili pork adobo with coconut cream
- 600 to 700 grams pork belly or shoulder skin on, cubed
- 1/2 head garlic crushed
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns crushed
- 1 to 2 bird’s eye chilies chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup vinegar
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup coconut cream
- 1 finger chili thinly sliced
Place the pork cubes in a wide shallow pan, add the crushed garlic, chopped chilies (or flakes), sugar, crushed peppercorns and bay leaf. Pour in the vinegar. Set the heat on high and bring to the boil without stirring.
- Continue boiling, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pork starts to render fat.
- Stir and cook until the edges of the pork start to brown.
- With the heat still on high, pour in the soy sauce and about a cup and a half of water.
- Bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer the adobo for an hour to an hour and a half or until the pork is very tender and the liquid considerably reduced.
- Pour in the coconut cream. Allow to simmer (there is no need to stir) for a minute or two.
- Transfer the chili pork adobo with coconut cream to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the sliced finger chili over the pork. Serve hot.