Filipino comfort food: lugaw at tokwa’t baboy (congee with pork and tofu side dish)

It’s breakfast. It’s snack. If it’s a large serving, it can be lunch or dinner. Lugaw (congee) may be Chinese in origin but when served with a side dish of tokwa’t baboy (diced pork and fried tofu) doused with soy-vinegar sauce, it is definitely Filipino.

There are many ways to cook congee and different varieties of rice may be used. Sticky rice is popular in some areas; long grain rice is preferred in others (see related post). Just as there are many variations of how tokwa’t baboy is served. The most common way is to use boiled pork but I have eaten in a carinderia where lechon kawali was used and it was so, so delicious.

But traditionally?

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Traditionally, boiled pork goes with fried firm tofu. Not just boiled pork, in fact, but boiled pig’s head — fatty, gelatinous, sticky. Why the head? Because, except for the tongue, no part of the head may be served as a premium cut. The head has to be deboned then cut into pieces in order to be served unless the intention is for the diners to rip the head on the table which is rather hard and too messy to do because of the large and very hard bone. Even with a whole lechon (roast pig), the head usually becomes paksiw. So, before the now-immortal Aling Lucing of Angeles City invented sisig, pig’s head was usually boiled and used for tokwa’t baboy.

Lugaw with tokwa’t baboy is comfort food. But that doesn’t mean that the lugaw has to be plain.

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Alex likes to crack a raw egg into her bowl of hot congee and let the egg cook right there. Speedy and Sam prefer hard-boiled eggs.

Lugaw at tokwa't baboy (congee with pork and tofu side dish)

Me? I like my toppings. Fried onions, toasted garlic and lots of finely sliced scallions. And I like my tokwa’t baboy to be practically swimming in sauce. How do I make the sauce? Vinegar, soy sauce, sliced raw onion, minced garlic, sliced ginger and chilies. For those who do not like the very strong and rather pungent pure vinegar-soy sauce combo, try adding a little sugar and meat broth.

  • DhayL

    My favourite pairings with lugaw would be, tokwa and lumpiang toge :) Really warms you up during the winter moths! Just like you, i like mine swimming in sauce too! hehhe

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      Ah lumpia! In college, I’d bite off one end of the lumpia and pour the vinegar directly inside. :D