I think it will be months before I start cooking adobo again. Not after the AdoboAidTO dinner fundraiser, not after I cooked more than 20lbs of pork and chicken and fed more than 50 donor-guests, not after I spent three days chopping meat, seasoning, marinating them overnight and finally braising them for hours in the kitchen. Days after the event, the house is still redolent of garlic and vinegar. But there’s a reason why adobo is a staple in town fiestas, the dish to serve when feeding an entire barangay. Much like the “5 loaves and 2 fish” that fed a multitude of 5,000 and left enough for the twelve disciples to eat, adobo doesn’t seem to run out. And there will be, inevitably, adobo leftovers.

The good thing is, there are many amazing ways to reprise the adobo.

1. Fried adobo

This is actually how I like my adobo. Unfortunately, for the AdoboAid dinner, I didn’t have the time and the right-sized skillet to fry big batches of adobo. My mom, a capampangan, would braise the meats for hours and then, right before serving, fry the meats in extra oil. The result was adobo with layers of flavours and a dark, delicious crust.

A breakfast of adobo flakes, adobo rice and achara

A breakfast of adobo flakes, adobo rice and achara

2. Adobo Flakes

Sometimes we cook adobo just to make adobo flakes. This has been Rama’s favourite since she was 4, when her Yaya Melindi would coarsely “osterize” leftover adobo and fry it to crunchy bits. What I do, though, is shred the meats and fry them. Great with fried egg, fried rice and a little achara on the side. How Filipino can breakfast get?

3. Adobo Fried Rice

I often have more adobo sauce left in the pot than I know what to do with. Well, I’ve learned to pour them on cooked rice, stirring in just enough sauce to coat the rice evenly. I then set the rice aside in the fridge overnight or longer, allowing the rice to “lose moisture”.  You don’t want to use soggy rice for fried rice; wet or soggy rice turns limp when it hits the oil and you get clumpy fried rice. Ugh! That’s the reason only left-over rice is used for fried rice. The Chinese have a descriptor for the perfect fried rice: jumping rice. Yes, nicely “dried out” rice literally jumps around on a hot, oiled wok or pan. You can almost hear the rice go “Wheee! Wheee! Wheee!”

So, heat oil. Add smashed cloves of garlic. Throw in small chunks of left-over adobo (if any). Add the rice. Add vegetables, like peas and carrots, if you wish. Mix. Plate. Eat. A meal in itself.

I’d love to learn of more ways to reprise the adobo. Maybe a Pulled Pork Adobo Taco?

(Top photo: ingredients of the classic adobo – vinegar, garlic, peppercorn, bay leaf)