Adobo is a typical meal that is usually made for birthdays or any other occasion and can be accompanied by white rice with beans in a ball. Some people usually add epatlaxtle. The name comes from Yetl patlaxtli. In Nahuatl Yetl = bean, Patlaxtli = flattened (crushed bean).

Adobo is a thick sauce of different dried chilies, spices, and vinegar in which meat is marinated for several hours and then cooked slowly for a long time. Pork is the most commonly used, followed by chicken, beef, and fish. The main dried chiles used are guajillo, ancho, and pasilla, which are roasted, cooked and ground with tomato, onion, and spices such as pepper, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, cumin, and garlic.

The color of the sauce depends directly on the chiles used: there are different shades of red to black. Vinegar is the ingredient that differentiates the adobo from other sauces. It is common for adobos to be served with lemon-tanned onions accompanied by beans or rice, and sometimes with boiled potatoes.

As with mole, there are many types of adobo. Those of the center of the country are different from those of the southeast, and these in turn are distinguished from those of the Huastecas and other regions of Mexico. Some regional pork stews are strictly speaking adobos, such as chilorio from Sinaloa or steak enchilados; however, they are not called adobos. In the non-urban areas of the central states of the country, rabbit adobo is usually made, which can be stewed like pork or basted with the sauce and roasted.

Iguana adobo is customary in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Veracruz and other states. Chicken adobo is consumed in rural communities where pork is expensive or difficult to obtain. In many places, beef adobo is prepared because it is considered healthier than pork. There are also stews such as epatlaxtli in adobo or lentils in adobo.


1 guajillo chile
3 tomatoes
5 peppers
A piece of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon ground marjoram
3 cloves garlic
¼ of onion
¼ teaspoon oregano (ground)
5 bay leaves
Oil to taste or lard


Soak the chile in water. Once the chile is soft, blend it with the tomato (raw), pepper, cinnamon, thyme, marjoram, garlic, and onion. In a pan with a little oil, fry it until the paste is completely cooked (it will look a dark red color) - remaining seasoned as grandma says -, adding the ground oregano and the bay leaves.

Sources: Larousse Cocina and National Institute of Indigenous Peoples