LOLA GOT'S LUTONG BAHAY IN AMERICA: Chapter 10: Adobong Puti By Margot Marfori

The flight back to Vegas was a bit crowded and relatively uneventful. The flight attendants were more than exceptional. Strike or no strike, PAL remains my airline of choice. Good things have to end though, because having to endure the hostility and rude manner of the lady immigration officer who processed me was less than a welcome-to-America experience. May be one big reason why fewer people want to come here, I guess.

But home is home. The heart lies where it does, and we have to follow. Remind myself why I’m here, consider the distance of one child from another, from you, and all is well again. So here’s the first thing I did when push came to shove, instead of getting upset….. I cooked adobo! White adobo, America na gud… even if Obama is the President.

Honestly, though, this is my first encounter with adobong puti. I’d read it once a few months before and even clipped the recipe. Then the first thing that catches me again, when I go through a magazine I’d bought in Davao, what comes up? More adobo recipes! Japanese adobo and adobo de campesino. Next day I go to have a haircut and a magazine with Charice on the cover catches my attention. Inside is another adobo recipe! Adobong puti. Okay, so I have mentioned going on a journey of sorts (in Facebook) hadn’t I? Well there it was, I was thinking, maybe this is a sign? That the time was now? To embark on my Adobo adventure?

Whatever it was, I just had to, at least, do this one. And, fortunately, my everyday friend commits to its being masarap daw. Even if I seemed to have forgotten to put some salt in it…. Well, you know what, it tasted pretty good to me too, with steaming hot rice and the sankutsa (is this how it’s spelled?), the best-est part (for me anyway) evenly mixed into the rice as soon as you scoop it into your serving bowl.

I’d like to share this one, not only because it was my first experience with adobong puti, but also because the whole process was, in itself, a movement away from unfortunate incidents and immigrant blues.

Adobong Puti

pork belly or liempo
chicken, cut Chinese style, meaning in small pieces
chopped garlic, or crushed if you prefer (I put in a whole head for this one)
cracked black peppercorn (I like to put a lot)
1 cup of vinegar, I used Datu Puti
1 or 2 bay leaves
salt to taste

Put the cubed pork and Chinese cut chicken in a glass or plastic bowl. Pour in the vinegar, garlic, crushed peppercorn and bay leaves. Mix them all together making sure all the pieces are well seasoned. Cover and leave it at room temperature for at least an hour. Or, if you prefer, overnight in the refrigerator. You may add more vinegar if you want.

In a deep pan, fry the chicken and pork in little oil until all sides are golden brown. The fat from the pork and chicken will be more than enough to finish the process. Save the marinade.

When frying is done, turn the heat off. Use a soup ladle to remove the rendered fat.

Turn the heat back on and add the marinade. Let this simmer and cook until all the liquid turns to a saucy consistency. Or, let it cook till all the liquid has evaporated and the meats start frying in its own oils. Mix with a wooden spoon and turn the heat off. Let it sit for a while and serve on top of hot brown or white rice.

This adobo recipe does not need to wait for the next day for it to taste yummier. I can attest to this because there was almost none left for us to have the next day. Oh, and lest I forget again, add the salt to taste. I always add it last because it loses its taste fast, so we tend to add more. The sodium content does not go away with the taste though and so becomes really unhealthy for those of us who suffer from high blood pressure.

This is one recipe that has very little chance of failure. Covered the three Ms (Matipid, Masarap, Mabango) required for good food in my opinion. Hope you enjoy it as much my family and I did. (Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Dabawenya Margot Marfori is a writer and visual artist who continues to live the Davao she loves. She taught at the University of the Philippines in Mindanao from 1996 to 2002. She is now based more times of the year in Henderson, Nevada, while her youngest son is studying at UNLV, and, where her two older children in San Francisco are near enough to visit).