Almost every household has a personal favorite way of preparing the humble adobo. Some are content with the most basic soy sauce-vinegar-garlic marinade, while others patronize versions with additional ingredients like coconut milk, potato, cumin, star anise, and other spices and flavors that truly make it their own. These other versions also range from being saucy, oily, or just cooked until dry. Whatever twist you favor, one thing stays the same: the adobo will always remain an undisputed favorite Philippine dish.

The next time you serve adobo, try out this Chinese-influenced version with pork liempo that’s been braised in a marinade with five-spice powder and ginger.

Braised Five-Spice Pork Liempo
Prep time: 45 minutes
Makes four servings

2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 kilo pork liempo, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, matchstick slices
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons five-spice powder
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oil in a wok; add sugar. Cook until sugar caramelizes and turns light brown.
2. Add pork and ginger; turn them in the mixture until well coated.
3. Add soy sauce, five-spice powder, water, and salt.
4. Cover the wok and cook gently over low heat for 40 minutes, turning the meat once or twice during braising. Add more water if necessary.
5. Adjust the seasoning by adding extra soy sauce to taste. Serve with steaming hot rice.

(Photo by Erwin Obcemea. Food styling by Chiqui Lloren. Recipes by Maricel Abad.)

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