Adobada (Spanish for "marinated"), also spelled Adovada, is a concept for many dishes that are common in Mexican cuisine similar to tacos. Adobada is generally pork marinated in a "red" chilli sauce with vinegar and oregano, but it can refer to different types of meat and to marinades closer to Al pastor. It is generally served on small, pliable corn maize tortilla along with sautéed vegetables and cheese.
"Carne Adovada" is a specialty in New Mexican cuisine. The Southern New Mexican version is usually pork cut into strips and chunks. Historically, before refrigeration, the pork was fermented in red chile in a crock using the same bacterial cultures as in yogurt (but it is not dairy). Fermented meat was a way of preservation and imparted a "sour" taste to the pork which explains why modern NM adovada recipes call for a bit of white vinegar. The red chile is prepared "con pellejo" with bits of the chile skin using spices of fresh minced garlic, mortar and pestle ground oregano, comino (cumin), cilantro, and coriander seeds that may or may not be toasted. The dish is then baked until the meat is tender, moist and succulent on the inside while encrusted with a semi-dry and crisp red chile exterior that is almost blackened. Other versions of red chile and boiled or braised pork may be claimed as carne adovada. Other versions of red chilli and pork sin pellejo are actually what is known as Chile Colorado. Carne adovada may be served with a tortilla, beans and rice, fideos or homefries with a fresh vinegar slaw or salad.
There is another version found in central NM at Matanzas. Chunks of pork are dipped in milk and rolled in a dry rub of red chilli con pellejo, garlic powder, salt, and comino. These are tossed into a large fry pot with "chicharones" and deep fried until crisp on the outside and tender and succulent inside.
In certain states in Mexico, carne adobada refers to marinated pork meat. It is a very common ingredient for tacos, in the area of Colima, Jalisco and Michoacán states. In some parts of the state of Guerrero, it is known as "Carne Enchilada" which means chili dressed meat. In the "Huasteca" area (San Luis Potosí, Tampico, Veracruz and Hidalgo) you might find it under the name of "Cecina Enchilada". Cecina stands for the thin cut steaks.
The combination of spices, chillies and vinegar used for the marinade is called "adobo". There are numerous recipes and regional variations for the adobo seasoning which impart different flavors to carne adobada.
- Stern, Jane; Stern, Michael (2009). 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late: And the Very Best Places to Eat Them. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 302–303. ISBN 978-0-547-05907-5.