We are definitely making Sohla’s adobong talong but that doesn’t mean Bon Appétit is off the hook
Dear Bon Appétit, it would take more than adobo to win us back, but because it’s by Sohla this should do—for now
Aug 26, 2020
We at Nolisoli.ph are big fans of any meal that requires less work but with maximum flavor, appeal and bang for buck. We’ve looked for inspiration from various homecooks, chefs, Martha Stewart and Julia Child disciples and food publications local and abroad—Bon Appétit included. But with the recent turn of events at the magazine’s editorial and administrative teams, we had to reevaluate our adoration.
Months after the exposé about the institutionalized racism at the magazine’s workplace, here we are grappling with whether or not to embrace back a once-favorite brand—and, of course, missing our Test Kitchen faves, who have since bowed out of BA’s video series.
But not all hope is gone. Just yesterday, Aug. 25, Sohla El-Waylly, who figured at the center of the racial discrimination issue, is back with a recipe for BA’s Basically. And it’s not just any recipe: Sohla made adobong talong(!).
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Adobo is the traditional Filipino method of simmering pork, chicken, or vegetables in vinegar and soy with bay leaves and lots of black pepper. Just a few ingredients is all you need for this dark and richly flavored sauce. Head over to @basically for my take on adobo-style eggplant. Slim and firm Japanese or Chinese eggplant work best, but during eggplant season I use whatever looks good at the market. Just avoid big, seedy Italian eggplant, which can get mushy and fall apart in the sauce. There’s a little bit of pork for flavor and fat, but feel free to substitute it for any other ground meat, or leave it out entirely for a vegetarian version.
You could definitely count on Filipino fans to go crazy over a Westerner’s very mention of either: balut, mango or adobo. But more than just that, it’s the fact that Sohla (one of our faves) thoughtfully recreated a Filipino recipe, and has somehow gotten on the right foot of the touchy internet food culture (touché).
She did not make the OG chicken or pork adobo but created a version with eggplant as the base with added ground pork. In an Instagram post, she describes the dish as a traditional method of “simmering pork, chicken, or vegetables in vinegar and soy with bay leaves and lots of black pepper,” which will result in a dark and richly flavored sauce.
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Adobo—both a style of preparation as well as the name of a dish—is one of the most widely known foods of the Philippines, often referred to as its national dish. There are countless of variations on adobo, which began as a preservation technique, based on region, available protein and produce, and family. To make adobo, which can be wet (very saucy) or dry (crispier and less soupy), pork, chicken, tubers, vegetables, squid, lamb, shrimp, or even duck, is simmered in vinegar, often with soy sauce, black peppercorns, and bay leaves. This recipe channels the same flavors of bright vinegar and dark soy sauce, using eggplant as the base, with the addition of ground pork for extra richness. Click the link in our bio to get @sohlae’s adobo-style eggplant recipe. 📷: @chelsielcraig 🍴: @mpearljones
We love this recipe because it is reminiscent of adobong kangkong or sitaw, a beloved vegetarian version of adobo in many Filipino households.
The recipe, available on Basically, references New York-based restaurateurs Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad of Maharlika and Jeepney restaurants. In their book “I Am a Filipino: And This is How We Cook,” adobo is defined as “anything cooked in vinegar. […] Depending on the region, the province, the city, or even the cook, the dish changes due to the Philippines’ own ocean-to-farm-to-table foodways.” Basically also did a feature on our local vinegar varieties.
It would take a systemic change in Bon Appétit’s management to woo us all back but for now, this adobo recipe by Sohla will do.
Header photo courtesy of Sohla El-Waylly on Instagram
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