Being Asian in origin, I feel like I have the responsibility to expose my kids to half of their heritage. But how do you go about it without suffocating them of all things Asian just like what I see with other families of other cultures? I want my kids to grow up feeling free to follow what they want to but just to be aware of how things are done with my side of the world. First and foremost in my husband's and my line of rearing the children is freedom. Freedom to choose and deciding on their own.
Ninety percent of what I cook are Italian because that's what my kids are accustomed to and the preference is obviously to that leaning. There are times when I interject some Philippine or Japanese cuisine to our meals that I know they will like. The first one in that list is adobo. Chicken or pork, the mixture of soy sauce and lemons of adobo wins everyone.
A classic Philippine adobo is comprised of vinegar and soy sauce. However, when I started my own version in Italy, I used lemons in place of vinegar. I loved it, including my husband, friends and now, my kids. I also cook my adobo until the sauce becomes slightly thick and almost fried. Growing up, most adobo versions I encountered have watery sauces which I am not very fond of. Some, like me, cook them through until the sauce lessens and becomes slightly thick.
The other day, I decided to experiment a bit and used clementines as the acidic agent instead of my usual lemons. My clementines were a tad sweet so I squeezed some lemon juice too. Depending on how your clementines taste like, the trick of this plate is to adjust the sourness in contrast with the soy sauce. I mix the basic marinade of soy sauce and lemons first hand so I can taste well before I add the other ingredients. Don't let the sweetness of the clementines dominate the marinade. Maintain sourness which you can get from the lemons. Put more lemon juice than I indicated in the ingredients if needed.
I marinated the meat overnight and I was rewarded with excellent results. Tasty, and just purely delicious. Eaten with day-old rice mixed with green peas and adobo sauce made it an incredible meal.
Clementine Pork Adobo with Sautéed Green Pea Rice
- 1/2 kilo pork belly, cubed (can also be chicken or both)
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 - 1/2 lemon, juice
- 1 - 1-1/2 clementines, juice
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, halved
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups cooked rice or 1 cup uncooked rice
- 3/4 cup green peas, frozen or fresh
- Prepare the marinade of soy sauce, lemon and clementines. Adjust the taste by adding more lemon or clementine if it's too salty. Add 1 clove garlic that has been halved and peppercorns. Leave pork in the marinade for at least two hours or better if overnight, in a sealed container in the fridge.
- Day-old rice is always better for using in sautéed rice. But if you are using new rice, prepare a pan with the rice and 3 cups of water . The usual ratio is 1:2 for rice to water but this varies with the kind of rice you are using.
- In high flame, cook the rice. When it starts to boil, cover and simmer with the lowest flame until cooked through and dry. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, sauté peas in extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
- In a bigger saucepan, boil the pork with the marinade in high flame. When it boils, add the water & bay leaves. Turn down the flame to low, cover and simmer for about half an hour or when sauce is reduced by half.
- Strain the pork and transfer to a bowl. Transfer the sauce to another bowl. With the empty saucepan, pour some new oil. Add the other halved garlic. When it starts to turn golden, put back the pork. Saute' on medium fire for about 10 minutes. Add half of the sauce and keep on sauteing for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Without turning off the fire, pour the remaining sauce in the saucepan. Cook for about 3 minutes on medium fire. Add the cooked rice. Coat the rice evenly with the sauce by mixing. Add the cooked green peas. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve pork and rice together while still hot.