Learn How To Adobo Anything

The Minimalists return with Holly Haines showing Kate Bittman how it's done

Adobo, Two Glorious Ways

Round two of The Minimalists features chef Holly Haines showing Kate Bittman the versatility of adobo. “Every Filipino home has their own version of adobo. And it’s essentially five standard ingredients: soy, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns. The ratio of vinegar to soy sauce changes, or the amount of garlic changes, but basically, you can adobo anything.”

We first met Holly through our former publication, Heated with Mark Bittman, where she wrote a series called, ‘In the Kitchen with Eartha & Angeles,’ on what she imagined it would be like to cook with her Black and Filipino grandmothers, neither of whom she ever got a chance to know. She became a Heated regular, and we became a crew of Holly Haines superfans. If you don’t follow her on Instagram or bookmark her website, you must. Check out the video for more.

Eggplant Adobo

Makes: 4 servings (with rice)
Time: About 20 minutes


  • 4 to 6 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil

  • 4 medium Filipino or Chinese eggplant, stems trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices

  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/3 cup sugar cane vinegar (or white distilled vinegar)

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, more to taste

  • Salt

  • Steamed white rice for serving


1. In a wide pan over medium-high heat, heat about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the eggplant and cook in batches until browned, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

2. In the same pan over low heat, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add bay leaf, soy sauce, vinegar, water, and pepper; adjust the heat and bring to a simmer. Add eggplant and cook for about 3 to 5 more minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and additional pepper to taste. Serve hot with lots of steamed white rice.


Pork Belly Adobo

Makes: 4 servings (with rice)
Time: About 90 minutes


  • 2 lbs pork belly⁣, skin-off

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce⁣

  • 1/2 cup sugar cane vinegar⁣ (or distilled white vinegar)

  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns⁣

  • 2 bay leaves⁣

  • 1 head (10-12 cloves) garlic, peeled⁣ and smashed

  • 1/2 red onion, quartered⁣

  • Steamed white rice for serving


1. Cut pork belly into bite-sized pieces. In a heavy pot or dutch oven over high heat, brown pork belly all over, about 10 minutes; do this in a couple of batches to get a nice brown crust on the pork belly. Add in soy sauce, vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, onion, and enough water to almost cover the pork (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup). Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.⁣

⁣2. Once the pork is tender, about 45 minutes, turn up the heat and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated, leaving the rendered pork fat. Fry pork in the rendered fat for a few more minutes until some edges are slightly crispy. Serve with lots of steamed white rice. ⁣

— Recipes from @itsholly by Holly Haines