Entries in Philippines (1)


Episode 16 - Masarap Pork Adobo

Episode 16? Let’s call it Season 2. New intro! New music! Better camera work! Faster editing! Everything’s coming up Milhouse! 


So earlier this year, as I was poring through cookbooks looking at things like slow roasted pork shoulder, Tanja pleaded with me.

"You know, not every meal has to be a huge deal. I often don't want that when it's just us two. Big recipes like that are for when we have people over."

Alright then.

So Australia day comes and we're planning to have Adrian & Tommy over. I plan roast pork, but chicken out the morning of, as the recipe seems to take a lot of guesswork and being able to tell when it's cooked (two things I'm bad at). So I look through books again, finding a great Pork Adobo recipe. 

I show it to Tanja and she says "Argh, so many heavy flavours! I can't take it in this humidity! Also, it looks like Goulash, and my mother stuffed me with horrid goulash when I was younger and I hate it now!" 


So she responded "I said that, but I still don't wanna!" 

I throw up my hands and say FINE I WON'T MAKE ANYFING ZOMG. 

(that’s a lie, I made Not Quite Nigella cheese & onion bread.)

But I stuck that recipe in the back of my mind for a bit, and when Tanja went to Melbourne to visit her sister, Adrian & Tommy were invited back over and I made Pork Adobo and HOLY CRAP is this a great recipe. 

Also, Tanja had some of the leftovers and needless to say, it’s been made again since.


Recipe Notes:

This recipe calls for a pretty serious chunk of pork with proper fat on it. Get pork belly, skin on, no bones. Your butcher will know what to do (he will also think you cool and attractive).

This dish is also great for folks who love Asian flavours (Adobo is considered the national dish of the Phillipines) but can’t handle the heat of fiery chillies.

The video was surprisingly short due to the simplicity of the recipe. Toast garlic, cook pork, chop veggies, add liquids, simmer, serve. Seriously. 

The book it came from was a Christmas gift, and this is the first thing I’ve made from it. It’s an incredibly interesting read, though. Go and see. 

Music Notes:

Ah, the music for this episode. Well, I had a clear idea. I had downloaded “Rave On Buddy Holly”, a tribute album, featuring a cavalcade of incredible bands. Upon my first listen, I frantically grabbed for paper and scribbled down my first impressions, which went kind of like this (copied as faithfully as I can):

“Paul McCartney holy fuck he sounds like Teddy Prendergast kickin’ ass and taking names, have not connected to a McCartney song this much since Oh Darlin’! She & Him give the Raveonettes treatment to Oh Boy. Ceelo Green turns You’re So Square into a Hawaiian Elvis tune. Many artist take the simple teachest bass sound of Holly & turn it into SRS INDIE INTONATIONS (Florence & The Machine, Fiona Apple, Nick Lowe, others), while Karen Elson rocks a Johnny Cash horns-and-strings progression. Julian Casanova’s Rave On is laid back garage punk, all sneer & fuzz, Jenny O channels Dolly Parton, Patti Smith turns Words of Love into a ballad of gentle strings and resonant voice, Modest Mouse start off indie, then turn into a bassline stomper, then lose their place & start over. Kid Rock, horns, and handclaps? Echoing Sam Cooke vocals? Bendy steel guitar? Really? Okay then. Lou Reed takes on Peggy Sue with distorted guitar waves, soundscapes & flat, flat vocals. It’s like 80s Iggy Pop & it doesn’t fit. Graham Nash thinks he’s covering Dear Prudence. and THE DETROIT COBRAS KICK THE DOOR DOWN AND BUY YOU A DRANK FOO’ as usual”

So yes. I liked it. So much so that I picked the 3rd track, Paul McCartney’s stomping, howling, cackling “It’s So Easy” as my leadoff song, followed by Julian Casanova’s “Rave On”. Then I rendered the video, posted it to Youtube and said I’d write the post that night.

Cue an email saying that my video contained copyrighted material. I’m used to that. It usually links to iTunes, or occasionally restricts my video from being shown on mobile devices. 

Not this time. This time I got muted. And I got my first YouTube strike. I should have known the most whimsical Beatle would be the most litigious (I know, I know it’s not him, it’s Universal Music, but still bitter.)

So I had to re-edit. And re-render. And re-upload. My mood was very different from the first time. So I chose two champions of the Creative Commons license, who just so happen to be incredibly talented & creative musicians I have enormous respect for: Jonathon Coulton & Amanda Palmer.

Jonathan Coulton - “Baby Got Back”, from “Thing A Week One”, 2006

Unlike most of my friends, who learned about Jonathan Coulton from Portal, I found a backhanded recommend in an interview in The Word Magazine, and look Jonathan Coulton up. Apart from the nerd-heartstring-pulling (“Code Monkey”), and the darkly hilarious (“The Future Soon”, “Re: Your Brains”, “Chiron Beta Prime”, “Betty & Me”), I realized that Mr Coulton was the real deal. Oh, and the title of his album? Isn’t a joke. He wrote a song a week for a whole year. And he did. And then he released them all for free. I have 6 of his songs from that period, and I purchased them all. Go get things of his.

Amanda Palmer - “High & Dry”, from “Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele”, 2010

Yep. Amanda Palmer. She of the Dresden Dolls, of the Ninja Gig, of the Good Day and the Coin Operated Boy and the Ampersand. She of the Ukelele, of the clashes with record labels, of the madly painted eyebrows, of the ReBellyOn, of #LOFNOTC, and of the crashing sound of a million billion fangirl hearts when she married Neil Gaiman. She should be played over far more than the credits of an internet cooking show. Go and get many of her things. 


Masarap* Pork Adobo


60mL groundnut oil (I used vegetable)

10 cloves garlic, sliced (NOT crushed. You’ll see why)

700-900g pork belly, skin on, no bones

2 onions

2 capsicums, different colours

a thumb of ginger

1/2 tsp of paprika

250mL White Wine vinegar

125 soy sauce

6 bay leaves

1 tbsp peppercorns

  • Cut your pork belly into bars, about 5 cm wide, then crosswise into cubes. Leave the fat on. It’s good for you.
  • Peel and slice all of the garlic. Leave the pieces fairly big.
  • Put a pan on full-top-end-heat with the oil in it.
  • When the oil’s hot, toss in half the garlic, stir, let ‘em turn golden, then scoop them out and set aside BEFORE THEY BURN AND GO HORRIBLE.
  • Put the pork cubes into the pan with the garlicky oil. Let them cook for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then. The less you stir, the more golden the pork goes, but don’t let things burn.
  • Meanwhile, peel and rough-chop your onions, and dice your capsicum.
  • Peel the ginger with a spoon, and grate it, or just chop it into matchsticks.
  • When the 10 minutes is up, throw the onion, capsicum ginger, and the leftover garlic into the pan, stir it up, turn the heat to medium and let it cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring once in a bit.
  • Throw in the paprika and mix about, then add the vinegar and soy, along with 500mL water for good measure.
  • Pile in the bay leaves, peppercorns, and a pinch of salt.
  • Crank the heat again, until the mix boils, then simmer on medium-low for 55 minutes. The recipe says the end product should have a “think, coating consistency”, but mine was a bit runnier, but still tasted amazing.
  • Serve on a bed of plain rice, seize, and consume.


* Masarap: Tagalog, “delicious”