Galay Recipes: Tetes Adobo

My mother’s style of cooking adobo, which I and my brother grew up with, is unique to her within the Galay family. For purposes of documentation I’m referring to it as ‘Tetes Adobo’ (my mother, Tess, is called ‘Tetes’ in the family), though she herself calls it ‘adobong tuyo’ (dry adobo).

I always say the recipe is the only effect Martial Law ever had on our family: my mother attributes the recipe to Kris Aquino,who only became a celebrity because her mother emerged as president following the Marcos-Aquino war.

But the recipe is really much older than that. Filipino Adobo’s long, complicated history really goes back to when pork was simply simmered in salt and vinegar and flavoured with basic spices, with soy sauce only later replacing salt. Tetes adobo is thus a very primitive adobo.

Here’s the recipe.




1 kilo pork belly cubes (fatty)
Cane Vinegar
1 ½ head garlic
Crushed black pepper
Cooking oil (vegetable)
Leftover (bahaw) rice (for fried rice)



  1. Peel the garlic and crush to a fine pulp
  2. Add pepper, salt, MSG and/or Seasoning to the garlic while on the mortar
  3. Add vinegar to the mortar, and pour the resulting mixture on the pork cubes.
  4. Add more vinegar to the mixture by rinsing the mortar with it. Add this (and more vinegar if necessary) until the pork is submerged.
  5. Allow to marinate for a short while (a few hours)
  6. Pour mixture on deep frying pan. Put frying pan on fire.
  7. Cook slowly until the mixture’s liquid evaporates.
  8. Add cooking oil. This part is optional – cooking oil from this process can be kept to make future frying more delicious.
  9. Allow to cook until golden brown. Stir constantly to avoid garlic sticking to bottom of pan.
  10. If not added with cooking oil, cook until oils come out of pork, then until golden brown.
  11. Take pork and garlic flakes from frying pan. Set oil aside. Adobo, with garlic flakes, are ready to serve


Since this adobo is dry, the crispy garlic crumbs  left on the frying pan make a good side dish on their own. The spices sticking to the pan can also be used to make a unique fried rice.


Fried rice

  1. Add rice to the frying pan after cooking adobo.
  2. Over fire, scrape garlic that has stuck on the pan off and mix with the rice.
  3. When rice is sufficiently golden, and no more garlic is on the frying pan, put out fire.
  4. Serve rice.



Recommended sawsawan and partners:

  • Guinamos (fermented fish paste) with kalamansi
  • Burong mangga

The Guinamos and kalamansi sawsawan is an innovation of my father, an Ilocano (Ilocanos have a penchant for guinamos). He used this dip to tone down the oiliness of the fatty pork. This fusion of Tagalog and Ilocano cuisine is one of my father’s few contributions to my family’s recipes, and a rare remnant of the days when we used to live in my father’s house. It is an exquisitely nostalgic dish for me.


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