Fiery Adobo is Filipino pork adobo with finger chilies and cayenne. To balance both the heat and acidity, lechon sauce is added towards the end of cooking.
Yes, it’s similar to paksiw na lechon. But my fiery adobo is spicier, richer and the sauce is sparse but thick. Oh, it’s so good with different levels of heat coming from the garlic, black pepper, finger chilies and cayenne. I should have doubled the recipe so we could have had leftovers because I am pretty sure that the fiery adobo would have been even tastier the next day.
So, how did I cook my fiery adobo?
It starts with pork belly, my favorite pork cut for cooking adobo. Cut into cubes, the pork belly went into the pan with garlic, pepper, sliced green chilies and cayenne powder.
Why green chilies and cayenne? Why not just either and double the amount? Green chilies and cayenne may be both hot but their flavors differ, that’s why. And cayenne adds a lovely color to the adobo. In my earlier version of this recipe published in 2004, I used annatto powder to give the dish a fire-red hue. Visually, it was a neat trick but the annatto did not contribute too much in terms of flavor. Cayenne is a much better option.
So, cook all that—pork and spices—with vinegar and, when the mixture is dry, lightly fry the pork belly in the rendered fat.
Next, pour in the soy sauce.
Simmer the pork until tender and the sauce has almost dried out.
Pour in the lechon sauce, stir and simmer for a few minutes.
By the time the fiery adobo is done, you’ll have reddish brown pork cubes swimming in a thick sauce that is sour, salty and just a little bit sweet. So lovely.
This recipe has been updated and modified from an earlier version originally published in December, 2004.
- 500 grams pork belly cut into two-inch cubes
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- 2 finger chilies sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
- 1/2 cup lechon sauce (store-bought is fine)
Spread the pork belly cubes in a wide pan. Add the garlic, pepper, chilies, cayenne and bay leaves.
Pour the vinegar over the pork and spices. Bring to the boil. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar has been soaked up by the meat.
Lower the heat to medium and lightly fry the pork in the fat that it has rendered. Cook until the meat is lightly browned.
Pour in the soy sauce. Stir.
Set the heat to low. Cover the pan and braise the pork for an hour to an hour and a half or until fork tender (the actual cooking time depends on the quality of the meat). If the liquid dries up before the pork is done, add water, a quarter cup at a time.
When the pork is tender and the sauce has dried up, pour in the lechon sauce. Stir. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed. Simmer for a few minutes.
You may garnish the fiery adobo with chili slices before serving. Best with rice.