Hubby wanted something mild or bland for dinner, so I whipped up some congee. I mean, seriously, what could be blander than that? (Wait, don't answer that. I just thought of something actually blander than lugaw hahaha).
Lugaw brings me back to my childhood when we would eat at the street corner carinderia for breakfast. A piping hot bowl of lugaw would cost Php3.00 ($0.07). The pork and tofu that come as "extra" would actually cost more. Aaahh... those were the days.
Anyway, the one cup of rice I used went a loooooong way. Too long, actually. :-) And no, hubby didn't really get his wish cause I used broth (instead of water) and put a bit of patis in it to taste.
What you need:
For the lugaw:
- 1 cup of rice
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon patis (fish sauce)
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, cut into match sticks
- 1/4 of a large Vidalia onion, sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon Canola oil
- 3 stalks of green onion, chopped
- toasted garlic
For the extras:
- 3 strips of thick-cut pork belly (around half a pound)
- 1 block of firm tofu
- Canola oil, for frying
For the dipping sauce:
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 of a large Vidalia onion, chopped
- 1/2 head of garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
What to do:
In a big pot over medium heat, toast the cup of rice until slightly brown (don't burn it!). Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same pot, heat the half tablespoon of Canola oil and saute the ginger and onion for about a minute. Return the rice to the pot and add the broth. Season with patis. Let cook in medium-low heat for around 45 minutes to an hour, stirring ocassionally. Add 1/2 cup of broth at a time if you think it is drying out.
Meanwhile, slice the tofu in smaller cubes and fry in hot oil (splatter alert!) until golden brown. Boil the pork belly in lightly salted water for about 10 minutes. Slice in small strips afterwards.
For the dipping sauce, just combine all the ingredients and let sit for a while for the flavors to blend.
Garnish the lugaw with green onions and toasted garlic before serving.
Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:
1. The best type of rice in making lugaw is sticky (glutinous) rice. I used sushi rice, and it worked well too. Don't wash the rice to retain starchiness.
2. Use your splatter guard when frying the tofu. Or dab it with a paper towel before frying.
3. You can use water instead of broth.
4. Aside from tofu and pork, you can also eat it with hard boiled eggs.
5. Red onions are great to use in the dipping sauce. (I only had Vidalia when I made this dish)