Saturday, April 16, 2016

Adobong Pugita (Octopus Stewed in Soy Vinegar Sauce)

Mimaropa (Region IV-B) also known as Southern Tagalog Islands is composed of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan. The region has a diverse and eccentric cuisine. Marinduque is popular for its Bibingka Lalaki (Male Bibingka), a rice cake that uses tuba or coconut wine; and Arrowroot cookies. Romblon is popular for its dish called Sarsa that is made from boiled coconut,  chilies and tiny shrimp. Palawan is popular for tamilok (shipworm, a worm-like mollusk.)  Mindoro's rich marine life strongly influences the local industry and cuisine.  It is popular for Adobong Pugita, Octopus Adobo.  

Adobong Pugita is made with mature octopus that is cooked in soy and vinegar sauce.  If cooked perfectly, the dish yields a very flavorful and succulent octopus that is well-matched with steamed rice. It is usually served as a main entree for lunch or dinner or as an accompaniment to beer in the Philippines.  

The key to cooking the dish is to cook the octopus as quickly as possible to preserve it's good texture. When overcooked, it becomes chewy and rubbery. I won't suggest prolonged cooking, not even pressure cooking. That will make the octopus rubbery!  I marinated the octopus first before cooking so it will absorb the flavors from the sauce then blanched it in boiling water for 2 minutes. Do not cook the blanched octopus with the sauce. Cook the adobo sauce separately because cooking the two together will cause overcooking.

If you live outside the Philippines,  you can buy octopus from Asian stores or seafood markets. 

So here is my Adobong Pugita recipe:

Adobong Pugita

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 whole adult octopus, cleaned,  cut in bitesize pieces, ink sac carefully separated
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water for marinating
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 dried bay leaves, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of boiling water for blanching

  1. Marinate the cuts of octopus in soy sauce, vinegar, water, salt and pepper for 45 minutes. Drain the octopus and save the marinade for Step 3. Set the marinated octopus aside.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or deep skillet. Saute garlic and caramelize the onion for 5 minutes. 
  3. Pour the marinade on the caramelized onion and garlic. Drop the bayleaves in if using. Add the octopus ink. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced. Turn the heat off.
  4. While the sauce is simmering: bring water to a brisk boil in a separate sauce pan. Blanch the marinated octopus for 2 minutes. Drain well.
  5. Add the blanched octopus to the adobo sauce. Stir to mix and transfer to a serving plate.
  6. Serve warm with steamed rice.
*  Octopus can be substituted with squid.
*  Asian stores and seafood markets carry frozen and fresh octopus.
* Do not overcook the octopus. Follow the time indicated in the recipe and watch it closely. 

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