Sunday, June 12, 2011

tvp adobo

Today is Philippine Independence Day, and I am posting a recipe of a dish that quickly comes to mind when you think of Philippine cuisine. Today's simple vegetarian recipe is adobo using TVP (textured vegetable protein).

TVP, also known as textured soy protein, is made of soy flour and is a by-product of the soybean oil extraction process. It is rich in protein, and it looks a bit like dry dog food. It is readily available in vegetarian and chinese grocery stores. Since I'm often in the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, I usually buy my TVP from Likha Diwa, a vegetarian restaurant on C.P. Garcia.

this particular adobo recipe requires the following ingredients.

2 cups dry TVP
2/3 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 to 4 cloves garlic crushed
1 bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
cornstarch dissolved in cold water
water for hydrating tvp and for adobo sauce
vegetable oil for frying
salt to taste
sugar to taste

Begin by hydrating the TVP in a large bowl filled with hot water. Let the TVP soak for about 30 minutes. You will know the TVP is ready because it has more than doubled in size and no longer has any hard sections. Pour out the water and squeeze the TVP dry. I rinse the TVP in another bowlful of water and squeeze the TVP dry once more for good measure. The TVP is now ready for frying. If the TVP seems too large, you may choose to slice it into smaller chunks.

(1) Heat enough vegetable oil in a pan to deep fry the hydrated TVP.

(2) Fry the TVP until golden brown and place them in a dish lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil.

(3) Remove the oil from the pan, taking care to leave about a serving spoonful of oil.

(4) Saute crushed garlic just until fragrant. You want the garlic to remain white.

(5) Return the fried TVP into the pan.

(6) Pour in 1 1/3 cups of water, 2/3 cup vinegar, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. at this point, do not stir the concoction at any cost. you may only stir the mixture AFTER it has boiled. Cover the pan and wait for the liquid to boil.

(7) Add black peppercorns and bay leaf. Be sure to crush the bay leaf in your hand before throwing it into the pan.

(8) Season with salt and sugar depending on your taste. You may omit the sugar if you want to.

(9) Allow the whole thing to simmer for a few minutes and let the liquid reduce.

(10) If you want the adobo sauce to be thick, pour in some slurry made of cornstarch dissolved in a little water.

(11) Once you are happy with the taste and consistency of your adobo, remove from heat and serve with steamed rice.

I usually pair this adobo with lots of ripe tomato slices and salted duck eggs or a nice atchara (vegetable chutney). It also goes well with a leafy salad with tomatoes and shallots.

Now here's an even easier version of the recipe above. When I'm in a hurry, I use Mama Sita's adobo mix. Follow the recipe up to Step 5. Then add the adobo mix prepared according to package directions. Cover the pan and wait until the sauce has boiled and has reduced.