Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Slow Cooker Filipino Pork Adobo and Maddie's Visit to the Philippines Part 1

Filipino Pork (or Chicken) Adobo

To usher my series of posts on my granddaughter Maddie's visit to the Philippines, I decided to use the recipe of the most popular Filipino dish, adobo, to go with the first post.  The chicken version of this mouthwatering dish has been referred to by one cookbook author, Mark Bittman, in his You Can Cook Everything cookbook, as the best chicken recipe in the whole world.  One can readily use other meats like pork like I did in this post or beef or even seafood like squid for that matter to prepare adobo.  We also have mixed chicken, pork and beef.  

The dish is simply prepared using only a few basic ingredients, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic to braise the meat in.  Some Filipinos have also added bay leaf and peppercorn while other versions have added jalapenos, ginger, onion and sugar.  

When Maddie's father, Matt, had his knee surgery long before he married my daughter, Wendy, I knew he had absorbed some of the Filipino culture he had been exposed to when he asked his mom, Carol, to cook for him adobo when he was recuperating.  It is not only haunting and addictive of a dish but also comforting.  The sauce is a rice guzzler.  You will not be able to stop soaking the rice with the adobo's tantalizing sauce that goes so well with the meat, whether it is chicken, pork or beef.  We also like to boil eggs together with the dish when cooking it and eat the peeled hard boiled egg together with the adobo, sauce drenched rice, some cucumber and tomatoes.  

When I cook adobo using pork or chicken in the slow cooker, I use the minimum amount of water unlike when one is cooking it on the stove.   No liquid is evaporating during the slow cooking process in the crock pot so you do not need to worry about the sauce drying up as compared to when you are braising the meat using the stove.  Since you are not concentrating the sauce in the slow cooker, I use more soy sauce to vinegar than I usually do when cooking it in the stove. By doing this I find the result using a slow cooker to be comparable to the sauce that has been concentrated by braising via the stove top method.  The recipe for this awesome Filipino dish is at the end of this post.

Maddie's Visit to the Philippines, Part 1

For their vacation this year, my daughter, Wendy, and her husband, Matt, decided to go to the Philippines while I was there for my high school reunion.  They also decided to bring along their daughter Maddie who was less than two years old when they took the trip in March.  Her mom felt she was too cute to leave behind.

The flight to the Philippines, Maddie's first, was of course challenging.  It took them a total of 24 hours or so with stop overs and delays.  They survived the ordeal including being stranded in Japan for 9 hours for barely missing their connecting flight. The picture below shows the very tired Maddie upon arrival at the airport.


They arrived at about 5 am in the morning, proceeded to the condo my brother generously provided for them where they rested till noon.  Since they were only going to be staying for a week in the Philippines, they wasted no time and took a tour of Intramuros where the Filipino national hero Jose Rizal languished in Fort Santiago located in this "walled city" before he was executed by the Spaniards. Using a horse buggy we rented, they visited the landmarks in Intramuros like the Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church.  Here are the pictures of their first day in the Philippines.

Maddie is all ready to go!


Fort Santiago

The Manila Cathedral

San Agustin Church

Dinner at Banzai Restaurant

Later that night, Wendy, Matt and Maddie got together with my brother Benjie's family which included his wife, Pinky and daughter Roxanne at Banzai Restaurant on Roxas Boulevard.  Ditos', my sister Bebeng's son, and his family which included his wife Candie and their two children, Jelo and Trixie, joined us later.  We were able to watch the spectacular international fireworks competition being held that night and the beautiful magnificent Manila sunset from the restaurant window overlooking Manila Bay.  Thanks Roxanne for making the reservations at Banzai and accompanying us during our tour of Intramuros.  It was a wonderful experience for all of us.  You and your parents are such generous and kind hosts.  

Banzai Restaurant is a teppanyaki Japanese place which features an array of Japanese as well as other food from various parts of Asia plus knife wielding and drama theatre.


Knife wielding skill show.

The actors display their theatrical show right around the floor of the buffet place.


We also celebrated Wendy's birthday at the Banzai Restaurant.

At the end of the night, Maddie rested on her Tita Pinkie's shoulder while Roxanne looked on.  More to come Maddie.  

Slow Cooker Filipino Pork Adobo


  • 2.5 lbs pork steak, cut into 2 inch rectangular or square pieces (note 1)
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed whole
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 bay leaf (note 2)
  • 1 tsp peppercorn (note 2)
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook for 3 hours at high setting or 6 hours at low setting.  I cooked mine in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.


1.  You can substitute chicken thighs either boned in or boneless and skinless.
2.  I place them both in a metal tea infuser to make it easier to take out.

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