Chicken and Pork Adobo

Another iconic Filipino dish is the Chicken and Pork Adobo. When the word has its Spanish origins, it is very different from what it means in Spain than what it means to a Filipino. In Spain, the word comes from “Adobar” which means “soaking raw meat in a marinade to enhance the flavour”. Ask any Filipino and they would give you an entirely different explanation which would be mostly that it is a dish that is cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns. While there are different spins to this dish from my country’s oh-so-many regions, what is common is that every Filipino embraces it as the unofficial national dish, finding comfort at its flavours and taste.


Even if I am here in Toronto for a while now, it is still a dish that I have regularly. I normally cook it in a big batch and save the rest for later. The dish could hold itself for a long time and the flavour actually gets better and better over time. Even with my own recipe, I tend to like it two ways. There are days that I like it to be saucy, smothering fresh steamed rice with its salty gravy to whet my appetite. And then there are days that I reduce the sauce to completely dry it up, concentrating that salty, garlicky flavour to bits and eating it kamayan style.

I find that it is the most memorable dish that non-Filipinos remember trying in a Filipino household. I am often asked where they can find a Filipino restaurant so they can have the dish once again. So if you want to try it, here is my own personal recipe of Chicken and Pork Adobo.

Chicken and Pork Adobo Recipe
1 1/2 lbs (6 – 8 pcs) chicken thighs or chicken legs, bone-in and skin-on
1 1/2 lbs (approximately 650 grams) pork belly, chopped in cubes
1 medium onion, diced
1 head garlic, minced
2 cups water
3/4 cup vinegar, white or sugar cane
1/2 cup soy sauce (preferably Marca Pina or Silver Swan brand)
3 pieces dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons whole peppercorn
3 tablespoons cooking oil

In a deep sauce pan or wok, heat 3 tablespoons of oil and sear the meat enough to give a crust and texture to the chicken and pork cubes. Put the seared chicken and pork aside. Sauté the diced onions and minced garlic.
Add the seared pork and chicken back to the pan. Add 2 cups of water, 3/4 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes or until meat is tender. Serve Chicken and Pork adobo with freshly steamed rice.

Adobo flakes option:
Set aside cooked chicken and pork adobo pieces and mince to smaller pieces. Cook further in about 1/3 cup adobo sauce until sauce runs dry. This would really concentrate the flavours of the dish. As you reduce the sauce, it is also a good idea to add more minced garlic according to your preference. This would then be what we Pinoys call as adobo flakes. 🙂

Pinoy Tip:
Filipino Soy Sauce brands Marca Pina and Silver Swan is saltier than the more popular Japanese brand Kikkoman. Kikkoman has a degree of sweetness that can alter the taste of adobo.

Of course you can use just chicken or just pork, depending on what your favourite is. The combination of the other ingredients remain the same if you use the same amount of meat. I hope you can find comfort with this dish like we do. It is a piece of home that I would not part no matter where I go.


Lumpia has always been a go-to-bring-to-potluck thing for me. I find that it is something that is friendly enough for Filipino food first timers to try. Most people, despite not seeing what is inside the spring roll pastry, still pick one up very easily. I think it is the very nature that it is mostly 2 – 3 bites that even the most pensive person doesn’t give it too much thought and most first timers try it when they see it.

_MG_9284_Lumpia Collage

Back in Manila, we have several varieties of lumpia. There is the most popular Lumpiang Shanghai which comes deep-fried with meat filling, pork being the most common recipe that pairs well with a sweet and sour chili sauce or Filipino UFC or Jufran banana ketchup. There is Lumpiang Gulay which comes deep-fried too and is filled with a medley of carrots, beans, bean sprouts, onions and garlic that is in turn paired with vinegar tempered with onions, salt and garlic. There is a third kind which is called Lumpiang Sariwa where the wrap resembles an unsweetened crepe with an all-veggie filling of carrots, beans, jicama (singkamas) and lettuce and would be generously drenched in a peanut-garlic thick sauce. My most favourite of them all is Lumpiang Shanghai as every warm crunch leaves me with instant gratification that what I had on my hand was very good Filipino eats.

My personal recipe always changes as I tend to wrap whatever I have on hand in my fridge at the time that I crave it. I tend to fashion the lumpia filling to whoever I intend to enjoy it. I have good combinations of vegetables for different proteins, always minding that there would be an experience of different textures, flavours that work well together.

Lumpiang Shanghai Original Recipe
1/2 kg ground pork
1 medium carrot, minced
1 medium onion, minced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 tsp pepper
Canola oil for deep frying
Chicken Lumpiang Shanghai Recipe
1/2 kg ground chicken
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1 medium carrot, minced
1 medium onion, minced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/3 tsp pepper
Canola oil for deep frying
Shrimp Lumpiang Shanghai Recipe
250 g peeled fresh shrimps, chopped into small pieces
250 g rice vermicelli or bihon, softened in warm water and drained
1 medium carrot, minced
1 medium chayote (sayote), minced
1 medium onion, minced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/3 tsp pepper
Canola oil for deep frying

Mix the chosen recipe in a medium size bowl. Before wrapping the filling, it is best to let the mixture sit in the fridge for 30 min (or freezer for 10 min if you are in a hurry) to be able to handle the wrapping better. All three recipes tend to be watery as you mix it and chilling the mixture would considerably dry up the mix and would be easier to wrap.

Lumpia wrappers can be found easily on the Asian food aisle in Toronto. They come in different sizes and it is dependent on you how much pieces you make by the thickness that you wish to have. I tend to prefer making small Lumpiang Shanghai, preferring the smallest size. The brand that I always see in groceries is TYG Spring Roll Pastry (click here to see the brand). Make sure to handle gently when separating the pastry and to cover the separated sheets with a clean dish towel. Long exposure to air tends to harden the pastry. I generally separate 10 pieces at a time and cover it with the towel, wrap the filling and then separate wrappers again.

To wrap the chilled filling, take a spring roll pastry and position it in diamond orientation. Place about a teaspoonful on one end and fold the lower edge away from you, making sure the fold snuggly secures the filling. Take the left and the right sides and fold. The spring roll should be able to turn and wrap itself with the wrapper about 3 times over. This would ensure that the spring roll would not unravel as it is being fried. Chill the spring rolls for about 30 min before frying to avoid moisture from spattering in the hot oil. Heat the cooking oil to 350F in a shallow pan enough to submerge the spring rolls. Fry the lumpia for 10 minutes and drain in paper towels after.


It is always best to eat when it is freshly just been fried. Nothing beats the taste of freshly fried lumpia. Try to imagine me, eating 2 or 3 spring rolls for each batch that I fry. I have no willpower not to enjoy it.

Do try my little nuggets of happiness. I guarantee it would always be a crowd pleaser.

Just a little tip: If you want a good pairing of sweet and sour sauce that would go well with the Lumpia, try this President’s Choice Taste of Thailand. It’s the closest in taste to Filipino lumpia dipping sauce.