As a child I had a funny relationship with food. I went through various aversions/liking to certain food groups. At one stage I would only eat fat. Yes, just fat. Yes, just pork fat! One thing I do not remember though is loving just vegetables.
Hence, it really bothered me when one of my kids started exhibiting troubling signs of vegetarianism. I don’t get it. If there’s one thing a foodie dad dreads it’s a vegetarian for a child. For some time I was totally convinced I spawned one. My eyes were probably closed when it happened…
That fear was not totally unsubstantiated. On burger nights my 3rd child, Yaya, would have what we now call Elishah’s (her real name) burger. It’s basically rabbit food in a bun. She would only eat the outside of spring rolls. She would remove any trace of meat on her spaghetti. She loves Hainanese chicken rice though… without the chicken. It is worrying as she’s barely 7 years old.
Maybe my comments about how I love cats…deep fried…has something to do with it but I’m still unsure about what brought this “not eating meat” habit on. Regardless, I was determined to nip it in the bud.
I’ve tried all sorts of techniques. Initially she would give in but then quickly revert back to her veggie fix. I felt helpless.
And then one day I cooked adobo for the following week’s packed lunches. The savoury aroma wafting throughout the house began to weaken Yaya’s resolve. Her curiosity got the better of her and asked for a taste. From then on she was cured. And we all lived happily ever after…
Adobo, after all, is the great vegetarian antidote. Now I know…
Pork Adobo ala Beancounter
1kg pork belly cut in fairly large chunks
60ml coconut vinegar
60ml Filipino soy sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1 head of garlic chopped finely
1 large onion chopped
Water (just enough to cover the meat)
1 Bay leaf
A bit of oil for sautéing
1. Combine all the ingredients in a pot but set aside a quarter of the garlic and onion for sautéing later.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour or so or until desired tenderness of the meat is achieved.
3. Remove everything from the pot but separate the meat from the sauce.
4. Heat up a bit of oil in the same pot. Sauté the garlic then the onion.
5. Add the meat pieces back in and fry for a couple of minutes. If you prefer a “crispier” adobo fry it a bit longer.
6. Add the sauce back in and simmer for another five minutes.
7. Serve with steaming hot jasmine rice.