There are so many ways of cooking Filipino adobo and I’ve barely scratched the surface. The most popular version among my generation is the one with soy sauce but soy sauce is not even an essential ingredient of adobo. Adobo is essentially a vinegar stew. I find logic in the claim of (credible) food historians who say that, like tapa (dried beef) and daing (dried fish), adobo was borne out of the necessity to preserve food and vinegar was the preservative of choice. The name “adobo” was coined by the Spaniards. What the vinegar stew was called before the colonization is something that was not preserved in the annals of our history.
In a small restaurant at the third floor of the Eastwood Cybermall, one of the specialties is crispy adobo. Deep-fried shredded cooked adobo served on top of rice and served with adobo sauce on the side. A friend brought me there years ago. I don’t know if the restaurant is still there, I can’t even recall its name, but I was badly smitten with the crispy adobo. This is my version.
You’ll need a kitchen spider to execute this dish successfully.
Crispy fried adobo flakes
For the dipping sauce:
- a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar in a proportion that you like
- grated garlic
- shallots chopped
- crushed chili (optional)
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or deep frying pan.
- Using two forks, shred the cooked adobo. The finer the shreds, the crispier the result.
- Place just enough shredded meat to line the bottom of the kitchen spider.
- Plunge the spider into the very hot cooking oil and leave for about a minute or until the meat is browned and crisp.
- Lift the spider from the oil and let the excess oil drip off.
Arrange the crispy fried adobo on top of rice. Sprinkle with crisp garlic bits and sliced scallions. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.