The Philippine Cookbook: Squid Adobo.


We’re in the middle of packing for a move tomorrow (yay!). Before I pack up all of our cookbooks, I thought I’d give this squid adobo recipe from The Philippine Cookbook a try. As history would suggest, I do love my adobo and have vivid memories of helping my grandma clean squid to make adobong pusit for dinner when I was a kid. My brother wanted nothing to do with this task, but it was a small price for me to pay for a tasty meal. This dish is an acquired taste for most; I suggest giving it a try at least once.

Squid Adobo Recipe


  • 1 lb. of medium-size squid
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or salt (I used toyomansi, a combination of soy sauce and calamansi juice)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups cubed red, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf (optional, I added this out of habit)


Wash and clean the squid thoroughly, removing the cuttle. [I’m pretty sure the cookbook is referring to the cuttlebone here, that transparent, long shell inside the squid. Pull it out.]

A little more detail about cleaning: To clean, pull the tail and head apart (most of the squid innards will be attached to the head and should slip out easily). For this recipe, I kept the squid tail whole but you could also cut it into smaller pieces if you want. I also cut the tentacles off the heads (taking care to cut above the eyes and squeeze out the the tiny cartilage “beak” at the tentacle base) and cooked them. If that’s not something you’re into, feel free to discard that part. I threw away the ink sacs (the sac is that black vein-looking thing in the innards), but if you want, you could keep a few of these and puncture them to release a few drops of ink into the cooking sauce, rice, etc.

Put squid in a saucepan (not aluminum) with the vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, pepper, soy sauce or salt, and water. Cook over low heat until squid is tender, making sure it does not get overcooked and rubbery. Pull out the cooked squid and set aside. Drain and set aside the squid broth.

Heat oil in another saucepan and sauté the cooked garlic until brown, onion until transparent, and tomatoes until soft. Add the squid and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour squid broth over mixture and bring to a boil. Serve hot. Serves 4.

The Verdict:


I really liked this version of adobo. But for some reason, it didn’t taste the way I had expected. My grandma never cooked her squid adobo with tomatoes… maybe that’s why the taste was a little different from what I remember. I’m also thinking that this dish would taste better if the sauce were thicker. The next time I cook this type of adobo I’ll probably experiment with adding some sugar to the sauce and boiling it down a little more. However, I am happy with how this turned out.

Happy eating!

– j.

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