Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Skip To MaLou

I have been living here in the U.S. for almost 10 years now. I am very aware that I usually stand out among the rest because of my ethnicity. It’s not that I want to conceal my nationality, but I usually try to blend in. I always tell myself to integrate. Still, no matter how much I try, I get quizzed if I'm Hawaiian, Spanish, Mexican or Filipino. Of course, I am always proud to say that I am Filipino!

It is so hard though to mesh in with the crowd when I have so many distinct traits that indicate that I am a Filipina. I remember my kids used to tease me whenever I brought a huge umbrella to the soccer games so that I could hide myself from the sun (I don't know why we Filipinos prefer to have fair skin). And while I was at Penn Station trying to catch the LIRR to Long Island, I was clutching my "handbag" when a lady approached me and commented on how much she liked my pocketbook. “Pocketbook?” I asked. “I am not reading a pocketbook!” I exclaimed then left her thinking that she was trying to rob me... only to find out that my "handbag" is the pocketbook she was referring. And there was also the time when my hubby and I were getting ready to go home from a night out with friends in NYC when a stranger approached me and asked, “Can I bum one?” I replied in disgust, “I’m married!” My hubby intervened and said “Sure”, as I looked at him in horror only to find out that the guy was only asking for a cigarette (confessions of a former casual smoker). I laugh everytime I recall these embarrassing moments even though it happened almost a decade ago. And yeah with a name like Malou how could I hide that I’m Filipina? “Ma- what?” they would ask… so I would tell them my standard reply: “It’s Malou, like skip to my Lou,” and that helps them with their pronunciation. They would say May-Lou!

Let me share with you one of my favorite salads. I’ve been on a diet and avoiding rice,but how could you possibly have adobo without rice? It wouldn't be the same, right? So I created a very good alternative. And the resulting dish is a tribute to my integration to America. I call this the Adobo Nation Salad Sensation. I am going to fuse the ubiquitous adobo with an unfamiliar partner, a bowl of romaine. Some prefer to use vinaigrette on the adobo but I like to use the adobo sauce with some pineapple/vinegar/rum dressing... Hmmm...just describing it makes me crave for a bowl right now. The adobo successfully blends into the bowl of salad, but the taste still stands out. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.


For the adobo:

There are so many variations in making adobo.  I like to keep mine simple.  Also, adobo is better as it sits longer, so I usually make a big pot of adobo and hang on to the left-overs.  To get an authentic adobo taste, I would advice using  Filipino vinegar and soy sauce.  You could buy them from any Asian Store.

2-3 lbs. pork/chicken
3/4 c vinegar
1/2 c soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
3 bay leaves (crushed)
3/4 c water

In a saucepan, combine all the wet  ingredients and crushed garlic together. Let it simmer.  Add black pepper and crushed bay leaves.  Allow the ingredients to fuse in together for a few more minutes then you are ready to add the pork/ chicken. Cook for about 30 minutes. Drain the pork and set aside the sauce as you will need it later on for the romaines. Let it cool.   Slice the cooked adobo into cubes (bite size)

For the salad dressing:
1/2 c pineapple juice
1/2 c vinegar
2-3 tbsp rum (optional but highly recommended as this was suggested by my friend Basil, and it definitely added the zing!)
salt and pepper to taste.
1/4 c white sugar (you could add more if you want it a little sweeter)
2-3 tbsp olive oil

In a separate pan, combine all ingredients and let it simmer, Continue to stir until the sugar dissolves.  Let it cool..

Pour the sauce mixture in a bowl.  Add 2-3 tbsps of olive oil.  Whisk it together.  This will serve as your salad dressing.

For the salad:


Boiled eggs
Pickled Papaya (atchara-- or try pomelo/grapefruit or pineapple)
Romaine (hand torn)
Tomatoes (sliced)

In a salad bowl, toss the romaine with the adobo sauce. Layer all the other ingredients, i.e. croutons, tomatoes, sliced boiled eggs, pickled papaya, raisins and cashews. Drizzle a generous amount of the Pineapple/Vinegar/Rum dressing. Enjoy!


  1. I usually have troubles serving my caucasian partner with Filipino cuisines. Finally, I was able to breakthrough and serve a dish with distinct Filipino flavors - presented in a very healthy manner "Adobo Nation Salad Sensation"...this recipe is a mighty success!

    Tasty + Healthy = BIG HIT
    (who could ask for anything more)

  2. Thanks Basil! Comments such as yours inspires me to create more dishes that has "global" appeal..

  3. Okay, THIS I must try!! Love the idea of adobo in salad.

  4. Jaden??? Is that really you? Call it a newbie blogger spirit but I'm so thrilled to get a comment from you! You placed me in BLOG HEAVEN! Let me know if you like the dish. So excited to hear from you again! Guess you can tell that I'm a big fan!

  5. Just found this post on Foodbuzz--I would never have thought to combine adobo with a salad but it sounds good.

    My husband used to turn his nose up at adobo because it looked so bland, but when he finally had a taste of it, he was hooked!

    Thanks for this post!


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