Filipino Boiled and Marinated Pork With Fried Tofu (Tokwa't Baboy)
In the Tagalog language, tokwa means tofu or bean curd, and baboy means pork. Tokwa't baboy is a spicy dish that traditionally includes seasoned, boiled pork belly and pig's ears that are mixed with deep-fried tofu. Pig's ears are a delicacy in Asia, and their texture is a bit chewy. Like many Filipino dishes, this recipe features a vinegar sauce and has sweet and sour flavors.
Tokwa't baboy is quite versatile: It can be served as an appetizer, a side dish with congee (a thick rice soup known as lugaw in Tagalog), a pulutan (a food served with beer or cocktails), or a main dish. In all cases, it is usually served with a vinegar-based sauce.
As a child, I loved eating this dish with rice. As an adult, I still love this dish, though I now tend to enjoy it most when paired with a few drinks with friends.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 15 min
1 hour 30 min
For cooking the pork:
- 1/2 pound pork belly
- 1/2 pound pig's ears (available at Asian stores)
- 5 cups water
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
For the vinegar sauce:
- 3/4 cup reserved water used in boiling the pork belly and ears
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
For frying the tofu:
- 1 pound firm tofu, drained
- 1 cup peanut oil
For the garnish:
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
- 1 jalapeño, sliced
- In a pot, combine the ingredients for cooking the pork. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, until tender.
- Drain the pork in a colander and reserve 3/4 cup of the boiling liquid or pork broth.
- In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and fry the tofu until browned. Turn the tofu over to brown evenly.
- Slice the cooked tofu into 1-inch cubes.
- Cut the cooked pork belly and pig's ears into bite-sized pieces.
- In a pot, combine the cut pork belly and ears with the vinegar sauce ingredients and boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Place the pork belly and ears on a serving plate. Top with the fried tofu. Garnish with green onions and jalapeños. Drizzle some of the warm vinegar sauce on top and serve.
- Try adding other seasonings, such as bay leaves or garlic, into the vinegar sauce.
- Use other types of chili peppers, or omit the chili pepper entirely if you don't want it spicy.
- If you wish to omit the pig's ears, that's ok. You might increase the amount of pork belly or tofu instead.
- Garnish with shallots instead of scallions.
- Cut the tofu into cubes before frying.
- Adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste.
- Serve the warm vinegar sauce on the side as a dipping sauce if desired.