Adobo - Filipino Stew

I've been meaning to post this for a while but February has been a hectic month in our house, with lots of birthdays and family get-togethers. Although I made this a few weeks ago I’m only now finding the time to write it up (I am ignoring the mountain of washing and bits of spaghetti that Hugo catapulted at the wall at lunchtime).

‘Adobo’ is a classic recipe from the Philippines, held in similar, traditional regard as the British Sunday roast - it's delicious and always goes down well when I make it for people. It is a rich meat stew, traditionally using pork or chicken gently cooked in soy sauce and vinegar, the tang of which is balanced with a bit of sugar, and served with fluffy, white rice. My mum liked to bulk it out with potatoes and serve it with a soft boiled egg, which I highly recommend.

Like most Filipino recipes it uses simple, inexpensive ingredients to create something wonderful. As a stew it is perfect for warming your bones on a cold, winter’s evening and is even yummier the next day after the flavours have had time to deepen.

Get it in your tummy.


Serves 2


1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

Roughly a tsp ginger, finely chopped

300g diced pork (belly pork or lean, depending on if you like fat) and/or chicken - I like to use thigh, keeping the skin on for flavour while cooking and removing before eating, but you can use breast too

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

4 tbsps light soy sauce

2 tbsps dark soy sauce (or just use light soy sauce if you don’t have both)

2 tbsps cider vinegar

1 tbsp palm sugar (brown or white sugar will do)

1/2 to 1 cup of water

1 soft boiled egg (optional)

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped


  1. Fry the onion in oil in a saucepan until soft, add the garlic and ginger and fry for a minute or so. 
  2. Add the meat to the pan and fry until browned all over.
  3. Add the potatoes, soy sauce, vinegar, water and sugar and stir to combine. The ingredients should be just covered in the liquid.
  4. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer gently for around 25 minutes, by which time the meat and potatoes should be cooked and the sauce reduced and thickened slightly.
  5. Taste the sauce and balance with more soy or sugar. I usually add a bit more sugar to mine.
  6. Serve with rice and green veg (such as broccoli, green beans, pak choy), and optional adornments of a soft boiled egg, and a sprinkling of fresh coriander.

* If you want to make larger quantities, the ratio of soy sauce to vinegar should always be 3:1, and the less water you use the more intense the flavour.