Make: Whole30 and Paleo Compliant Filipino Adobo

Whatttt? You read that right, it's possible to eat adobo while still adhering to Whole30 and Paleo guidelines. Hands down, my dad makes the best adobo. I'm partial of course! Because he only makes it during celebrations, it has become a comfort for me when it is available. There are many variations to this dish, some add sugar, some add beans, but the key ingredients are vinegar and soy sauce. My dad's dish is straightforward and very easy to make, but the soy sauce is a big no-no to both the whole30 and paleo diets. You can ready more about why here. Basically, both whole30 and paleo requires that you adhere to some strict guidelines about food and this includes not eating sugars, legumes, soy, msg and wheat. Whenever I am on a whole30 or paleo reset, I usually try to stay away from my parents house to reduce temptation. If you are Filipino or if your best friend is Filipino you know that food is a staple in Filipino households.

Adobo is a staple in Filipio households because it lasts long due to the vinegar. With tropical weather all year in the Philippines, it was important to have food that lasted a while. It's also one of those recipes that has both the Chinese and Spanish influence. It is important that you buy good quality ingredients for this recipe as you may be eating it for awhile.  It usually tastes better over time anyways. So, without further ado, here are two recipes for adobo: the first is the original recipe my dad uses, the second is a paleo version using two very easy substitutions.

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Papang's Filipino Adobo

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of pork belly cut into 1 inch x 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 entire bulb of garlic, peeled and sliced into smaller chunks
  • 1/2 soy sauce (Silver Swan is a common brand)
  • 1 cup of white distilled vinegar (Datu Puti is a common brand)
  • 1 tsp of fresh ground pepper
  • 6 dried bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Heat up a shallow pan (no oil) at med-high heat
  2. Take 4 pieces of pork belly + 2 tbsp of water and cook it until some of the fat has rendered
  3. Lower the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for around 5-7 minutes
  4. While the garlic cooks, add the soy sauce and vinegar to the meat and let it marinate for a few minutes
  5. Once the garlic is done, add the meat
  6. Cook the meat on high heat for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  7. Add the pepper and crush the bay leaves
  8. Let the meat cook for another 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally
  9. Taste test and see if the flavor is just right.  Adjust as needed.
  10. Turn the heat to low and let the meat finish cooking.  The sauce should have cooked off and you'll have mostly oil left from the pork.  This is why it's important for your meat to be good quality.
  11. Enjoy with rice!
 

Papang's Filipino Adobo.  A classic Filipino dish made of pork belly, vinegar, soy sauce and lots of love.

 

Whole30 and Paleo Compliant Filipino Adobo

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of pork belly cut into 1 inch x 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 entire bulb of garlic, peeled and sliced into smaller chunks
  • 3/4 coconut aminos (I use Coconut Secre)
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg)
  • 1 tsp of fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 6 dried bay leaves

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions

Instructions for cooking are very similar to the original. Note also that the ingredients are similar, but we need to make substitutions for key staples: soy sauce and vinegar. Coconut aminos are a great soy sauce substitute. Lighter in flavor and sweeter. Make sure you taste test. Because this is not using soy sauce and the coconut aminos have a sweeter taste, you'll note that we added salt. You'll also need to cook it a little bit longer as the meat doesn't break down as fast with the soy sauce.

  1. Heat up a shallow pan (no oil) at med-high heat
  2. Take 4 pieces of pork belly + 2 tbsp of water and cook it until some of the fat has rendered
  3. Lower the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for around 5-7 minutes
  4. While the garlic cooks, add the coconut aminos and vinegar to the meat and let it marinate for a few minutes
  5. Once the garlic is done, add the meat
  6. Cook the meat on high heat for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  7. Add the salt, pepper and crush the bay leaves
  8. Let the meat cook for another 25 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally
  9. Taste test and see if the flavor is just right.  Adjust as needed. 
  10. Turn the heat to low and let the meat finish cooking.  The sauce should have cooked off and you'll have mostly oil left from the pork.  This is why it's important for your meat to be good quality.
  11. Enjoy with cauliflower ice!
 

Whole30 and Paleo compliant version of Filipino adobo. So good, you might not be able to tell the difference.

 

Behind The Scenes

My dad and I cooked the above dishes together. I followed his lead as he cooked his original adobo recipe.  Here are some of the behind the scenes. To keep this as low waste as possible, we were able to get the meat in our own containers. Although, I was a bit snervous because we were going to an Asian market that I had never been to beforehand I wasn't sure what they would say. They were really cool about it. No questions asked or hesitation. My dad did tip the guy behind the counter $1. Hope it didn't feel like a bribe because he seemed ok with me insisting to have the meat in the container. We did have to buy the soy sauce and vinegar in recyclable plastic and the bay leaves were in plastic as well. Everything else was bought without plastic. For the coconut aminos and the apple cider vinegar, those came in glass. 

zerowastemeat

My dad chopping up some garlic. These add a great aroma and taste to the meat.

 

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