Slow cooked pork belly adobo – a Filipino recipe

I was so excited that one of the items from my Riverford meat box was pork belly. I think for many of us meat lovers, pork belly holds a special place in our hearts [and bellies]. It’s one of those cuts that is affordable, versatile, TASTY and fun to eat. People tend to make funny noises when they eat a well cooked pork belly. My favourite pork belly styles are slow cooked with a crispy crackling, or braised until it melts in your mouth.

Ever since I came back from Lanzarote I was thinking about recreating a lovely Spanish paprika seasoning we tried called adobo. I found the recipe online, but I also came across a different adobo altogether that caught my eye. The Philippines also have their own adobo dish; although both versions have similar ingredients, the cooking method is very different. Filipino adobo is so popular that it’s sometimes considered their national dish. I was won over immediately, so I’ve gone with the Philippines. Sorry Canary Islands!

Once again, a relatively small amount of pork belly (350g) was included in the meat box. As previously discussed, this has sometimes made it hard for me to find suitable recipes that make a little meat go a long way. This time I was more concerned with efficiency; I wasn’t going to go out of my way to slow cook a tiny amount for three hours. Thankfully this dish is on the manageable end so I managed it all in one hour – though I would recommend you increase time if cooking more.

  • 350g pork belly
  • A few smashed heads of garlic
  • Couple of bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Spring onions snipped into inch-long pieces
I cut the pork belly into bite-size pieces and browned them on all sides before adding them to a pot. The 1/3 cup of water was added to the dirty pan to pick up all the good crusty caramelised bits (this is known as deglazing – you learn something new everyday) and added along with the rest of the ingredients to the braising pot. Then it was simply a case of bringing the mixture to a boil and simmering for about an hour – or as long as you can resist!

I soon found the worse thing about slow cooking pork belly… is the smell. Because it is so tantalising! And the pungent whiff of the sweet and sour braising sauce reminded me of a lot of Cantonese cooking, which made me even hungrier.

The pork belly adobo was a resounding success. Although I overestimated the vinegar (it was a touch too tart for my taste), this could have been rectified by adding a bit more sugar towards the end. I also added a touch of cornflour to thicken the sauce. But the pork belly certainly had that wonderful ‘melt in the mouth’ texture. In the Phillipines it’s always served with rice, which soaks up the delicious sauce, but I fancied a twist and ate it with egg noodles.

500g organic pork belly strips from Riverford costs £3.95.


3 thoughts on “Slow cooked pork belly adobo – a Filipino recipe

  1. Pingback: Roast field&flower pork belly – siu yuk (烧肉) | Meat in a Box

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