2. Add the fish sauce, starting out with 5 tablespoons and then adding more as your palate dictates, balancing the sour, sweet, and salty. How much fish sauce you use depends on the brand and your own taste. Aim for a light honey or amber color and a bold, forward finish. Keep in mind that this sauce is typically used to dress dishes that include unsalted ingredients like lettuce and herbs-ingredients that will need an extra flavor lift. When you're satisfied, add the chiles and garlic. (If diners are sensitive to chile heat, serve the chiles on the side.)
3. Put the sauce on the table so that diners can serve themselves, or portion it out in advance for serving. It may be prepared early in the day and left at room temperature until serving.
Note: When using both garlic and chiles in the sauce, try pounding them together with a pinch of sugar in a mortar. This quickly releases their oils (helpful if you are in a hurry) and gives the sauce an appealing orange cast.
Reprinted with permission from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors by Andrea Nguyen.
When Marvin Gapultos had a craving for adobo but didn’t know how to make it, he decided to learn his family’s recipes. Since then, he has shared the flavors of Filipino food through his Los Angeles-based food truck The Manila Machine, on his blog Burnt Lumpia, and in The Adobo Road Cookbook.