These are crazy times, and I suspect that things will only get a bit more crazy. I’ve said it to my family a couple of times already, and simply put the World will be changed from this point forward. Most everything will change around us, and that may not be such a bad thing depending on your outlook. I know that like most of us, my family is hunkered down and taking all precautions. My wife unfortunately is still on those ‘front lines’ in the medical field, but my kids have not gone anywhere for the last few weeks, and surprisingly enough they seem pretty content. For myself, well I have set a bit of isolation in play for the last couple of years, not only being mindful of germs, but for most everything around me due to this whole cancer battle. Regardless, we are currently safe and healthy.
Like most of you, I have taken inventory of most all of my household food items. My inventory is pretty much kept up to date, but there are some things that are straggling around the house that I have wanted to experiment with in my cooking. This is one of those creations. I came across a packet of Mama Sita’s Adobo seasoning and I figured that I would try this seasoning and see how it would compare to some authentic stuff that I already make. Mama Sita’s is a familiar name in the Filipino market. They make a bunch of seasonings to assist in recipes, and adobo is a common one. Typically adobo is made with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, black peppercorns and bay leaves. It’s a really great thing to try if you have not made it, and it’s easy to boot!
So I thought that I would give this packet a try because after all I bought it and obviously wanted to give it a shot at some point in the past. Now was my time, not only to use the packet and try the seasoning, but also to use up some frozen strips of thick pork belly, and better yet some frozen Asian buns (commonly known as Chinese steamed buns, bao, or simply steamed buns).
Let’s get started.
- 1 packet Mama Sita’s Adobo
- 1.5 lb pork belly, cut into 3 inch pieces
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- big pinch of brown sugar
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp chili sauce
- Asian steamed buns, cooked
- fresh cilantro, torn, optional
Begin by mixing the seasoning packet and water in a mixing bowl. Once mixed, add in the pork belly. Toss to coat all of the pork, then cover and let marinate in a cold spot for one hour.
During this time, prepare your cilantro and make your sauce. To a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and the chili sauce. Stir well, and set those to the side, or in the refrigerator.
After the pork has been marinating, heat a large skillet on medium heat. Let the pan get warm for a couple of minutes then add the oil. Swirl the oil in the pan. Using tongs, remove the pork from the marinade (do not discard) and place into the skillet, laying flat as you would bacon. Pour the remaining marinade in a sauce pan and bring that a to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer and it reduces in half.
While that is going on flip the pork belly and sprinkle on the brown sugar. Mix the vinegar and black pepper in a bowl then pour into the skillet. Keep cooking the pork until you fully cook it and it begins to caramelize from the fat rendering. Once you achieved that, set aside and remove from the heat. Pour the reduced adobo sauce over the pork.
If you haven’t steamed or warmed up your buns, do that.
Now you are ready to plate.
Take a warmed bun and lather the inside with the spicy mayonnaise. Tuck a couple of slices of pork belly inside, and add some of the torn cilantro. Repeat with as many as you can take on.
The result was great. The overall pork belly on a steamed bun is for sure a win, but I’m not sure if the packet of Mama Sita’s adobo won over a traditional home cooked adobo. Regardless, the addition of vinegar and pepper made it slightly better. When things get going a bit faster again, seek out the buns, and make some adobo. I would say skip the packet but go with the concept. Enjoy!