Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Adobo The World

General ingredients for Sunday Meal.

Yes, I can cook.

It's times like these when I get myself into trouble.

Perhaps it's time that I start to think like a normal guy: I don't know how to cook. I just want to sit on the couch watching The Game and talk player stats while guzzling six-packs of beer.

Instead, I find myself on a Sunday late morning at the local supermarket looking for ingredients to make "something Filipino."

Making "medium grain" rice with a 50/50 mixture of long grain and short grain rices. It worked!

Earlier this year, I had the notion of going out to eat Filipino food in Mexico City. A google search for "Filipino restaurants Mexico City" returned nothing, so I contacted the Philippine Embassy in Mexico City, asking them for guidance on where to eat traditional Filipino food in the city.

Surely, in a city of 20 million people, some Filipinos would have found their way to these shores (consider the old Manila-Mexico-Spain trade route) and opened up a carinderia.

A couple of days later, a reply from the Consul General was telling: no Filipino restaurants in Mexico City. No Filipino restaurants in all of Mexico, for that matter. Huh???

Pork Adobo Battle Ingredients: pork ribs, butter, white onion, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, red wine & jalapeno.

I couldn't believe it. There's Filipinos and their restaurants everywhere. Wherever there's work and the chance to send remittances back home, Filipinos have landed. How is it this mighty city has none. Am I the only Filipino in the city (along with the embassy staff)?

No Filipino restaurants. No Filipino food. If I move here, I could be in trouble. That's right when the girls had the idea that I should cook Sunday meal. But not just any meal. They wanted to try real Filipino food. Whatever that was.

Seared, stewed and ready to serve.

As to be expected, when it comes to fresh Mexican ingredients, Mexico is all aces. When it comes to assembling the ingredients needed to make authentic, traditional Filipino (or general Asian) food, that's where Mexico starts to stumble.

Of course, it could be just that I don't know the lay of the land. Maybe there's some secret mercado filled with Asian foodstuffs longing for my discovery - like that little Chinese market on Puente Alvarado in Tabacalera.

At one point, I thought seriously about making Kare Kare but a quick search at the supermarket left some key ingredients out. Ixnay the Kare Kare. Enter Pork Adobo.

Monday morning breakfast: pan fried pork adobo, Sinaag fried rice and some eggs.

In the world of Filipino cookery, Adobo is the ubiquitous traditional dish. Everyone knows it. Everyone can make it. Sorta. Everyone has their own twist. Take a drive across just Luzon and you'll find thousands of different variations of Adobo. Talk to your friends and each of them has their own preferred way. Some like it dry. Others fried. Some like it with sabaw (or sauce). Others hate it that way.

Then the ingredients can get kinda crazy and esoteric - some of which fly completely in the face of what you know as "adobo". Like that dude who talked about putting coconut milk in his adobo: Heretic. Or peppers. Or fish. Strange and odd stuff, but all under that known as adobo.

And it's completely different than Mexican Adobo. Actually, I don't even know what Mexican Adobo is, but to this Filipino boy: it ain't Adobo to me.

For Sunday Meal, I just took the simple route, with a little twist. Pork ribs with some butter, onion and red wine to add to the traditional ingredients of garlic, black pepper, bay leaves, soy sauce and vinegar. After some careful searing and some long stewing, it was ready to eat and enjoyed by all.

Like many dishes around the world, Adobo enjoys a little age. So, the next day, all by myself, I indulged myself in a little treat. Pan fried pork adobo with some eggs and garlic fried rice.

Not a bad way to remember the flavors of home while off in a distant land.