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Celebrating a national dish – adobo

First Posted 10:52:00 05/01/2010

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ADOBO, regardless of its etymology (Mexican) and origin (Spanish adobado), is our own creation, the soul of our slow-cooked cuisine. Every Filipino who cooks knows it by heart.

The ingredients of adobo are affordable and cooked using basic vinegar, garlic and pepper.

Traditional adobo uses meat ? pork, chicken or beef ? but the most popular version is CPA or Chicken Pork Adobo. I think the spinoff using a variety of ingredients make adobo the most versatile style of cooking nationwide, even worldwide.

Adobo keeps very well due to the curing effect of vinegar, salt and spices. Quality of the vinegar, therefore, is of utmost importance. There is no shortcut to a good adobo. Native (small) garlic like the ones grown in Ilocos is preferred due to its potent and strong flavor. Then again, personal styles come into play from the different regions. And they come in different colors and textures owing to a mix of ingredients from vegetables to meat and seafood.

The interplay of regional differences is best exemplified in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu?s Culinary Journey ?Great Adobo Challenge? in the lunch and dinner buffet at Café Marco on April 29 to May 1, by the guest chefs Nancy Reyes Lumen from Manila, Myrna Segismundo from Batangas, Glenda Barretto from Samar, and Danny dela Cuesta from Northern Luzon or Ilocos Region.

Nancy Reyes Lumen of the famous Reyes clan of The Aristocrat Restaurant is impassioned about the advocacy of adobo here and abroad that as earned her the title of ?Adobo Queen.? She has collaborated with the late Ronnie Alejandro and came up with ?The Adobo Book,? a compilation of adobo recipes from prominent personalities. The signature Chicken and Pork Adobo from Manila is simmered in vinegar, garlic, pepper, bay leaves and soy sauce to give it a golden color. Simmered meats are fried and served with the reduced sauce.

Myrna Segismundo, a Batanguena, is the Managing Director of TV Food Chefs, food writer and author of cookbooks. A member of the Kulinarya team, she is a staunch advocate of the preservation of traditional Filipino cooking. Her Batangas Chicken and Pork Adobo uses anatto seeds or achuete to impart a rich orange color to the dish. Some use dilaw or yellow ginger or turmeric. Her Adobo Pate gives the classic dish a sophisticated French touch.

Glenda Barretto is the force behind the successful chain of Via Mare restaurants that is synonymous to great Filipino cuisine. A writer and author, her experience and eminence in the food industry made her a natural chairperson of the Kulinarya team. A native of Samar, Glenda shares the Waray Adobo. Chicken and Pork are fried before simmering in vinegar, salt, pepper and bay leaves.

This is similar to Adobong Puti since it does not use soy sauce. Her Adobong Sugpo in Taba ng Talangka (fat of small crabs) is sinfully delicious.

Danny dela Cuesta, a Fashion designer by profession and food enthusiast by vocation is a food expert and has developed various promotional recipes for consumer food brands. An Ilocano, his adobo dishes use sukang Iloco (Ilocos vinegar) from sugar cane, which is dark and pungent and locally grown garlic. The typical Ilocano Adobo is simmered until the sauce is dried up and gets fried in its own oil or fat. His Adobo Tinupig is twice cooked. Chicken is simmered and deboned. The shredded meat is wrapped in banana leaves and broiled, a process called Tinupig.

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