Here’s everything you need to know about Adobo! What is it, where it came from and how is it used?
Adobo is both a seasoning and cooking technique. As a seasoning, adobo is omnipresent in Latin food. As a technique, thanks to the adobo we have so many
In the Philippines? Yes!
In Spanish adobo is a seasoning, marinade or sauce. The Philippines was a Spanish colony and adobo was the name given by the colonists to a cooking method in the tropical archipelago.
How is Adobo used
Originally, when refrigeration didn’t exist, adobo was meant to preserve the food while enhancing the flavor. Paprika, oregano, pepper, salt, and garlic were combined with vinegar to create a marinade or a thick sauce.
Usually, raw meat, pork, poultry or fish were marinated (or adobados) in that mix of spices and vinegar. A key ingredient, along with the vinegar, was the paprika, because of its antibacterial properties.
With refrigeration, adobo became a primary way to season and enhance food flavor. Once the food is enriched with the adobo flavors and aromas, we call it
Types of Adobo
There are two main types of adobos: dry, which are very similar to the dry rub that we use in the US, and the wet adobos, the adobos “mojados” (i.e. marinades), which in the Caribbean involves the use of citruses such as lime and sour oranges.
I used them to make a barbecue sauce for these grilled chicken skewers, for a pineapple chipotle glaze I used for this delicious holiday ham recipe and this pineapple chipotle sauce I drizzled over my favorite shrimp tacos.
Mexicans, I have to say it: are the kings of spicy and colorful adobos. Mexican adobos are sold canned in the international sections of grocery stores across the country.
Cubans are world famous for their pork recipes involving a Cuban mojo which is an adobo made with naranja agria (sour orange) juice, garlic and oregano. The pork is marinated with this flavorful adobo and then cooked. This Cuban mojo is so popular, that can be bought, bottled, in Latin grocery stores.
In the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, but also in other countries of the Caribbean basin such as Venezuela, dry adobos are so popular that they are commercially sold everywhere.
The most popular brands are Badia, Goya, and McCormick. These dry adobos, which usually come labeled as adobo completo or complete seasoning, are mostly a blend of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, and other dry herbs and spices. A new favorite of mine is this Organic Adobo, which is Non-GMO, doesn’t contain MSG. It’s also Vegan and Gluten Free.