More on Adobo

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Adobo is adobo wherever you go: Basically it is chicken or pork or both cooked in vinegar, pepper-corns, garlic, sometimes soy sauce and a dash of sugar, too. Sometimes, whole boiled eggs are included. Sometimes, chicken liver is osterized and added to the sauce. But the basic items are the same and the only variation of the dish from one kitchen to the other or from one region to the next is the strength of the vinegar or the proportion of the ingredients- as in, this one has more soy sauce; that one has an overdose of garlic; oh, somebody put a dash of sugar in here! But trust the indulgent Negrense cook to break the monotony of the scheme of things.

In Negros Occidental, cooks have not only given the adobo some variations but, in fact, have literally played adventures with this unofficial national dish. First, the Negrense has made the sauce of this adobo a lot thicker than its counterparts in the other region, and he did not do this by simply adding flour or coagulating agents. The secret lies in the use of pork fat; meaning to say the Negrense chooses adobo cuts that are at least one third fat. Thus, when the dish is boiled to tenderness and the water evaporates, the oils from the fats are released, resulting in a thick sauce. Topped with fried, crisp garlic chips, the dish is a melange of flavors and textures pulled together by the sauce. The adobo sauce in Negros is so thick that meats don't 'swim' in it the way they do in the versions of Luzon. Like the Negrense paksiw, which is known in the local dialect as pinalmahan (literal translation: dried up), the water in the adobo hereabouts is made to evaporate. In fact, one rule of thumb used to determine whether the dish is already done is: "Once the water is gone, it's cooked."