Philippines – Kinilaw and Adobo

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Kinilaw and Adobo

We were so happy when our reader Luisa decided to write us to share her family’s recipes from the Philippines, that we wanted to try them out immediately! Kinilaw is a fresh and healthy recipe which is perfect in summer and Adobo is a classic Filipino dish which is all about marinating meat in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and spices.

Luisa is from a town called Davao, in the southern region of the Philippines, called Mindanao. This area is close to the sea, which is why the Kinilaw dish is made with fresh fish (tuna). Luisa left the Philippines in 2002 after graduating from university and then lived in Madrid (she is part Spanish), and New York. She took up on a teaching job in Geneva 9 years ago and so she moved to Switzerland. Luisa is currently on a career break to focus on raising her toddler and taking care of her newborn. She used to visit the Philippines more often but hasn’t been back in the last 6 years. Her parents have been the ones visiting more often since all their other children are also based in Europe.

Luisa’s family loves to cook. Her 2 sisters are chefs and run a café in Paris. They all learned to cook from their mom and their grandmother. The Kinilaw recipe is her mom’s. She says: ‘My grandmother makes it slightly different —adding coconut milk’.

Adobo recipe

Adobo is a classic Filipino dish which can be made with chicken or pork, or even seafood (squid). It is best eaten with plain rice on the side, or with garlic fried rice. Adobo is the Spanish word for dressing, and refers to the marinade. Adobo is also popular in Latin American countries, but is considered by many as the national dish of the Philippines.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 kilo of chicken or pork
  • 120 ml soy sauce
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 (red) onion (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons of cider or white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • In the typical dish sugar is usually added, since according to Luisa Filipinos like their sauce a bit on the sweet side. Luisa doesn’t add it herself. At Let’s Explore we tried it out and added 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. So this is optional, according to your taste.
  • 1 table spoon of cooking oil
  • 450 ml water

How to prepare:

  1. Marinate chicken/pork with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and the diced onion for at least one hour (but best overnight). If you choose to add the sugar, you also add that to the marinade.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of cooking oil in a frying pan.
  3. Separate your meat from the marinade by using a strainer, and cook the meat until browned on all sides.
  4. Add the marinade and 450 ml of water and leave it to cook on low heat for 40 minutes to about one hour (until the meat is tender).
  5. Cook the rice and serve with the Adobo. Yum!

Kinilaw recipe

Kinilaw means “eaten raw”. The process involves “cooking” with vinegar (usually cane or coconut vinegar) and citric juices (the local lemon is called calamansi). There are different variations in different regions. In the north of the Philippines they use lightly grilled meat. In the south they use fish (in Luisa’s hometown Davao, they have a lot of tuna) or other seafood, like shrimp.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 kilo diced fresh tuna or substitute
  • 2 cucumbers (sliced thinly)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced radish – put in bowl add 1tbsp rock salt and mix using your hands. Then wash off and squeeze out water.)
  • Juice of 2 whole lemons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 1 finger sized ginger (skin peeled and minced)
  • 4 table spoons of vinegar (if you have kafir lime leaves you can mince this and soak in vinegar). Strain after an hour.
  • Red bell pepper-minced but not too fine) this is to add flavour and color
  • Small red Chili -minced

How to prepare:

  1. Put the tuna cubes in a bowl. Add lemon and vinegar.
  2. Mix with the rest of the ingredients.

Refrigerate before serving

Thank you, Luisa for having shared your recipes with us! We loved the fresh and healthy taste of the Kinilaw, and we will definitely make the Adobo more often as well!





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