Recipes

Pamana: A Batangueña Shares an Adobo Recipe She Learned from Her Grandmother

March 25, 2020

Pamana explores different ways people prepare and experience Filipino dishes, based on recipes handed down to them over generations. For our first Pamana (Filipino, to pass down), we talk about adobo.

Adobo is simple—just aromatics, soy sauce, vinegar, and chicken, meat, or seafood. But no recipe is the same, and there are no adobo dishes that are exactly alike. It also differs each time you make it, based on preference, or just how sour you want it that day. Even more so, adobo differs tremendously depending on where you’re from.

pamana recipe of adobo sa dilaw with batangas local sheillah guerra

In Batangas, the local version is adobo sa dilaw, a variation of the dish that uses turmeric (or luyang dilaw). That gives it its signature yellow hue and a slightly tangy, peppery flavor. Sheillah Guerra, a Batangueña, taught us how to make her pamana adobo sa dilaw. A self-confessed “lola‘s girl,” Sheillah shared memories of being in the kitchen with her grandmother, who taught her the recipe step-by-step. Nowadays, this pamana is one that’s still enjoyed by her family during gatherings; and she still occasionally makes it for her home.

For Sheillah, what makes adobo sa dilaw unique is its simplicity, which is true with most dishes from Batangas. Methods are easy, and flavors are uncomplicated. Plus, with the regions vast resources, locals are afforded a variety of native ingredients that make their delicacies truly theirs.

Adobo sa Dilaw

  • Serves: 2-4 people
  • Active time: 45mins
  • Total time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: Easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 600g chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 piece (about an inch) fresh turmeric (luyang dilaw), peeled and julienned
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 to 1 ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp Patis Balayan (fish sauce)
  • ½ cup vinegar (or more, to taste)
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Siling pansigang (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. In a saucepan, sauté onion, garlic and cook until the onion begins to soften.
  3. Add the turmeric and stir.
  4. Add the chicken and cook, until brown in color, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add in the patis.
  6. Add the vinegar, water, peppercorns and bay leaf, and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove the lid and continue cooking for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened. 
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  10. Add the sili pansigang, if using.
Jica Simpas Jica Simpas

Jica hopes that by writing about food she'll actually learn how to cook. But for now, she'll happily just eat everything—especially cookies.

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