Blog of an aspiring foodie

So what is adobo?

Posted by beer_chris on 5-February-2008

I gave a gift of adobo seasoning in a small Penzey's gift pack this week. I love the stuff, but the first question from the folks whom I presented it to was 'is this Filipino'? Of course, I was puzzled – as a Texan, adobo seasoning is a decidedly Mexican ingredient to me. However, in the back of my mind I was wondering if I had not heard of Filipino adobo before – and certainly there is Spanish influence in both Mexico and the Philippines – so it makes some sense. So as it turns out the wikipedia entry for adobo does include only a reference to the Filipino version – which is a mix of garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaf and black peppercorns.

The entry also provides some etymology – the word adobo in Spanish means 'seasoning' – so with that nicely general definition anything called adobo from anywhere would be accurate in meaning even if varied in content. Mexican adobo seems to consistently include Mexican oregano (dried), Tellicherry black peppercorns, garlic (dried) and paprika. However, with a name as general as 'seasoning', I easily found 5 different preparations for 'Mexican' adobo – some including things like sugar and vinegar, others hot cayenne pepper.

Regardless of the history, adobo is just plain tasty as a rub for any type of meat, or as the base for a long simmered sauce for meat (adobado).


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