Adobo Seca

A taste of tradition with a twist! #FilipinoFlavors. Tender chicken and pork, vibrant Achuete oil, and a burst of flavours – discover the essence of Filipino cuisine in every bite.

In the tapestry of Filipino cuisine, there exists a dish that’s as ubiquitous as it is beloved – Adobo. It’s the heart and soul of Filipino kitchens, a culinary masterpiece that finds its way onto our tables for breakfast, lunch, merienda, or dinner. But what makes Adobo truly unique is its ability to adapt, to transform, and to be an all-occasion delight.

Adobo, at its core, is defined by one key ingredient – vinegar. Yet, it’s a chameleon of sorts, adapting to the nuances of different regions and even individual households. Amidst the variety of Adobo versions, one fundamental truth emerges – Adobo is not just a recipe; it’s a cooking method, a technique that brings harmony to the symphony of flavours.

One particular variation of Adobo that deserves the spotlight is Adobo Seca, also known as Adobong Caviteño or Adobong Pula. It’s a delightful concoction where pork, chicken, or both are marinated and then simmered in a tantalizing blend of garlic, vinegar, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and achuete.

The name itself, Adobo Seca, draws from the Spanish word “seca,” meaning dry. In this rendition, the norm is upheld – pork, garlic, bay leaves, and vinegar. However, what sets it apart is the omission of soy sauce, a relatively recent but mainstream addition to Adobo, and the addition of annatto (achuete) to the mix. The annatto, a gift from Mexico via the galleon trade, lends its vibrant hue and earthy flavour to the dish.

The journey of Adobo Seca begins with browning the pork in oil, allowing its precious fat to render. Then, the symphony of garlic and vinegar joins the dance. The sizzle, the aroma, and the anticipation – these are the elements that make Adobo Seca come alive.

Cavite cuisine, from which Adobo Seca hails, is known for its balance. It doesn’t venture into extremes – not too sweet, not too rich, and certainly not too spicy. Garlic plays a starring role in this culinary tradition, so much so that there’s a local joke about it. “This is why we don’t have monsters in Cavite,” they say with a wink. “We use too much garlic.” It’s a nod to the old legend that garlic repels monsters, vampires, and other ghouls.

As the flavours meld in the simmering pot, there’s a piece of wisdom passed down through generations – don’t stir the Adobo until after the vinegar has been thoroughly cooked. It’s an old wives’ admonition that adds a touch of tradition to this timeless dish, reminding us that the art of cooking Adobo Seca is as much about patience as it is about flavour.

So, the next time you savour a plate of Adobo Seca, remember that you’re not just indulging in a meal; you’re partaking in a culinary journey through history, tradition, and the heart of Filipino cuisine. It’s a dish that carries the essence of the Philippines, a testament to the enduring love affair between Filipinos and their Adobo.

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Adobo Seca

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Chinese


Tender chicken and pork, vibrant Achuete oil, and a burst of flavours – discover the essence of Filipino cuisine in every bite.



Units Scale


  • 500 g chicken legs, chopped
  • 500 g pork belly, cubed
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 whole garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorn
  • 4 pcs bay leaves
  • 2 pcs green finger chilies
  • oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt

Annatto Water


  1. Combine Achuete seeds with hot water and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Season chicken and pork with salt and pepper. Set is aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat cooking oil in a wok then sauté garlic until golden.
  4. Add meats, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Sear until brown.
  5. Pour vinegar and annatto water, discarding the seeds, cover and bring to a boil then simmer in low heat for 40 minutes to infuse flavours.
  6. Give it its first mix to distribute the sauce, bring heat to medium high, add the green finger chillies then continue to cook until liquid reduces.
  7. Serve with rice.


8 Responses

  1. This looks right up my alley! Gotta find some annatto seeds to make this.

  2. I love the color the annatto seeds give to this dish! This seems so simple and flavorful.

  3. mimi says:

    Yum! This sounds wonderful!

  4. héctor says:

    This one I gotta try. Sounds absolutely delish! So thanks for all the great recipes Raymond; I’m gonna be cooking right through the next century…! But hey keep it up 😛

  5. Michelle says:

    Love the harmonious flavors of adobo – and this looks amazing with the addition of annatto seed water! Save me a bowl with some steamed rice!

  6. suituapui says:

    Chicken and pork combo? Usually, here, it is one or the other, never together like this.

  7. I do really enjoy the Adobo style of cooking, but Adobo Seca is new to me. I need to try this out – it sounds quite delicious!

  8. Hannah says:

    I feel like you could teach a whole college course on adobo! How fascinating, I really didn’t know it was so diverse.

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