A Wish Upon a Bay Leaf: Adobo Recipe

[Ed. note: I came across this recipe on Tumblr awhile ago on a blog on paganism and ritual written by a Pilipina, and thought the content was so fitting for Hella Pinay that I reached out to Janice, the author, and asked if I could republish here with some slight edits. Enjoy!]

Bay leaves have tons of magical properties, and are used in spells for protection, psychic power, divination, success, money and making wishes. I cook with bay leaves a lot, and there’s a particular dish I cook when I’m feeling down or determined - pork adobo! For me, this stew is a source of comfort, and my mom made it for me often when I was upset (as the bay leaf’s magical properties include protection). Also bonding! I enjoy making it for friends and family. A shared pot of adobo and rice opens up positive channels between people you love, and people you are growing to love (not to mention this is absolutely delicious, you’ll want a huge pot of it anyway!) 

While I’m cooking, I cut meat and think about my situation, I mix ingredients and think of many possible solutions to these problems or ways to reach my goals. After everything is boiled, the bay leaves are added last, and just recently I’ve started stirring them into the food in the motion of a pentagram.

Magic is all willpower, so while I find that although the solutions aren’t quick, big, or instantaneous (they usually never are), stirring with intent helps bring forth the positive energy I need to achieve my goal.

A wish come true, if you will.



  • 1 ½ cup soy sauce (I don't know about any magical properties of soy sauce, but it is very, very salty! And salt is a good thing)
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar (Element: FIRE! For enthusiastic energy)
  • 1 Tbsp whole peppercorns (Element: FIRE! Banish negativity and evil influence)
  • Salt (pinch) (Cleansing! Element: EARTH! Purify and ground yourself)
  • 2 lbs boneless pork ribs or pork belly (Element: FIRE! Profuseness, dramatic energy and hella tasty flavor)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (Element: FIRE! Break curses and hexes, demolish what’s holding you back)
  • 2-3 bay leaves (Element: FIRE! Bring money, success, protection, divination)

Tools (magic or otherwise):

  • Athame or other sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large cauldron or another nice sized pot with a lid
  • Big spoon for stirring
  • Large mixing bowl (glass preferred)

Prep (30 minutes)

As always, wash your hands before starting!

Get your mixing bowl, cutting board and your knife (whether or not you chose to cut with your athame is up to you). Rinse off your pork, pat dry with a paper towel, then begin cutting your meat into 1 inch or 1 ½ inch pieces. (Note: Pork belly is recommended, but it can be pricey. So if you got boneless pork ribs, make sure the cuts are marbled well with fat).

As you’re cutting, think about your intent for this dish (other than your rumbling tummy ;) ). Since this article is about bay leaf wishes, think about your wish as you are cutting. Focus on what you want to achieve, and think of every little piece of meat as a stepping stone towards your goal. Add them one at a time to your mixing bowl.

Then, take your fresh garlic and place the cloves on the cutting board. Think for a moment about all the things holding you back from achieving your goals. Focus on them, then take your knife, place it flat over the garlic (sharp side facing away) and crush them! Each time you crush a clove, think about every one of your doubts as chains you’re finally able to break. Then peel the garlic cloves and throw them away, just like your negative thoughts. Mince the garlic, and add it to your mixing bowl.

Pour the soy sauce in the mixing bowl next. As salty as soy sauce already is, I still like to follow it up with a pinch of salt. Salt grounds and cleanses, and for me (and many of my friends do agree) the more salt the better.

Next add the pepper. It banishes evil energy, so those who are thinking negatively about you, or your wish, cannot touch you.

Now that we’ve dispelled our negative thoughts, its time to get some enthusiastic energy into our meal! Add the vinegar to the bowl.

With your bare hands, begin mixing the ingredients together. I find that channeling your energy and intent is more effective if you touch what you’re preparing. So mix it all well, with every ounce of willpower you have.

Once its been thoroughly mixed together, wash your hands and cover the bowl with tin foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the contents for 1-2 hours.

Cooking (45 Min – 1 Hour)

Heat your cauldron (over a fire) or pot on medium. If unsure of the temperature, put a drop of water into the pot to see if it sizzles.

Take your mixing bowl out of the fridge, and carefully pour the contents into the pot. Using your large spoon, begin stirring and shifting the pork around. Stir in the shape of a pentagram, and as you do this, keep your intent in mind.

Cover the pot, and bring the contents to a boil. Let it boil for about 15 minutes. Don’t forget to check your food for taste, salt more if needed!

Stir again, once more in a pentagram.

Now is the time to add your bay leaves. Adding one leaf at a time, focus your energy on achieving your goals. Each leaf is a wish, so for example:

“I wish upon this bay leaf to do well at my next interview”

Then add that leaf to the pot. Stir it in.

Repeat the wish over the next few leaves, and stir them in slowly. Then cover the pot. Put the pot on low heat, and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Can be eaten as is, or enjoyed over a bowl of white rice (more protection and money attraction!).

Remember, just eating this food, saying a spell or wishing with all your might doesn’t actually get anything done. Now that you’ve harnessed all this positive energy and banished the bad energy, its time for you to make your wish come true! Good Luck!


BY Janice Marie Seeley


Janice is a freelance artist in Hawaii working the West Coast convention circuits. She's a self-described "huge nerd" who enjoys table top games, cooking, and exploring her spirituality.

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