Friday, February 20, 2009

"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters

We playfully refer to this as "Chinese Adobo".

Mama has been making what she calls chicken or pork "adobo" for quite a number of years. For the longest time, even though experience had shown otherwise, I would still expect "real" adobo upon Mama's mention of it.

Philippine (Filipino) Adobo is anything cooked in soy sauce, garlic, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and the all-important vinegar. In reality, my mother uses "adobo" to refer to anything that she cooks in soy sauce, usually sweetened a tad with sugar, with no vinegar!

We've been subject to Mama's "Chinese Adobo" all these years, so we thought we'd finally put it to good use for our Starry, Starry Night celebration.

This dish came together quite fast.


This was one of those dishes that should be cooked last minute, so I was working in a hurry, trying to get the dish ready in time for the guests.

A couple of swirls of oil in the pot.

In goes slivers of ginger, green onions, and then garlic until fragrant.

Then, I put in the oysters.

The oysters were large-ish pieces. I was thinking of dredging the oysters in a little bit of flour (or cornstarch) and pan-frying them before putting them into the pot, to help them keep their shape, but since I was pressed for time, I didn't.

To braise the oysters, I splashed a couple of tablespoons of Shaoxing wine, added some soy sauce (about a fourth of a cup), and tablespoon of black vinegar.

I added one star anise and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I also added some more sugar to balance out the saltiness of the soy. If the sauce is too strong, then some water may be added to dilute the flavours.

I tasted the "sauce" until it tasted balanced to me and then in went the clams to steam.

After all of the clams have opened, I tasted the sauce again and made the necessary adjustments. It should be a balanced sauce, slightly salty but sweet, with sweetly acidic hints from the vinegar. There should also be a pronounced flavour from the star anise.

I put it more of the star anise syrup we made for our Pineapple-Pomegranate Star Anise Soda to get the licorice-y note.

The sauce can be reduced or, in our case, thickened with some cornstarch slurry.

Garnish with green onions on top.

Read all about our Starry, Starry... Pig? adventure -- aka, the Case of the Missing Pig.

We served "Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters during our New Year's Eve party:
A Starry, Starry Night in Vancouver -- Evoking the Philippine Christmas Spirit

eatingclub vancouver adobo posts:
Chicken Adobo
Pork Belly, Two Ways
Adobo Kangkong (Adobo Water Spinach)
Adobo Mushroom Tart
"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters
Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk (Adobo sa Gata)
Coconut Adobo Halibut Tails (Adobo sa Gata)
Roast Chicken Adobo
Brown-braised Pig's Feet
Adobong Baka (Philippine Beef Adobo)

eatingclub vancouver Filipino food
Mama's Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)
Faux Kamote-Que
Philippine-Style Chicken "BBQ"
Fried Hasa Hasa (Mackerel)
"Savory" Chicken Wings
Sinamak (Chile-infused Vinegar)
Pan-roasted Halibut w/ Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes & Bagoong Butter Sauce
Bulalo & Bangus: an even simpler Filipino meal
Baked Tahong (Mussels)
Adobo Kangkong (Adobo Water Spinach)
Oyster Torta (Oyster Omelette)
Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup w/ Green Papaya & Pepper Leaves)
(Chinese) Roast Pork Belly / Lechon
Tilapia wrapped in Banana Leaves
Pork Belly, Two Ways
Chicken Adobo
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Lechon Manok (Philippine Roast Chicken) & Lechon Sauce
"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters
Bistek (Citrus Beef with Caramelized Onions)
Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)
Atsara (Green Papaya Pickle)
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines) and Pressure Cooker Fear


  1. What a great variation to traditional adobo!

  2. Oooo I've never thought of cooking oysters AND clams together. I bet this would be great with blackbean sauce too:-)

  3. I would bathe in that bowl of clams and them so!

  4. Looks really good! Love the addition of star anise and cinnamon! yummy...

  5. I had never heard of Filipino Adobo until last week's No Reservations. I always thing of the kind you get chipotles in

  6. Real adobo or not, these look great! I just followed the link to your bibingka post - I miss it so much, I will have to try your recipe!

  7. Joelen:

    Marc @ NoRecipes:
    That would be classic!

    Peter M:
    Haha... I think people would pay to see that.

    Until we came to North America, I've never heard of the Mexican adobo. =)

    Tangled Noodle:
    Ah, that bibingka. I kinda want it right now since you reminded me. =)


LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs