One memory that I have about food is that my uncles would drink together over the weekend. And with the drinking comes lots of pulutan (appetiser) to complement the ice cold San Miguel Pale Pilsen. One dish lovingly cooked and served would be Tokwa’t Baboy. This dish is a regular staple on the menu of drinking establishments. It is often joked that this is supposedly a healthy dish as it is partly made of tofu and has vegetables in it in the form of the red onion and the splash of spring onion to it. Of course that is negated by the fact that even though this dish is made of tofu, it was prepared by frying the living daylights out of it. Combine this with the fatty pig’s ear and belly and you’ve got a hearty appetiser that will surely make your heart beat (and blood pressure spike!)
I was tasked to cook this for a potluck dinner. For health considerations, I wanted to stay away from the fatty pork belly that is normally used in this dish. Consulting with my ever reliable Asian butcher, he recommended that instead of the belly, use pork neck!
Why the neck?
According to the butcher, the neck of the pork is less fatty than the belly. It is leaner, flavourful and is actually cheaper! Downside is that you have to cook it a little bit longer to make it tender just like a brisket. But if you’re like me who’s not really a fan of fat and would love to have leaner meat, go for pork neck! This is also my reason for my weird title.
Now off to the preparations!
Sangkap | Ingredients
- 1 kilo pork neck, cut into bite size pieces
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 pc red onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 cups cane vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3 pieces of chilli, chopped
- 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 4 stalks of spring onion, sliced at a 45 degree angle
- 500 grams extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon Canola oil
Pagluluto | Cooking
- First of all, remember to cut your ingredients and prepare your mise en place.
- It’s up to you how you want to chop the red onion. Personally i like it a bit longer than usual. Gives contrast to the tofu against the pork.
- With regards to the chilli. If you leave the seeds, the spicier the sauce is. I find that leaving some seeds give it that extra spice which is a nice contrast to the acidic sweetness of the sauce.
- Put the Pork Neck into a pot. Fill with water until covered. Bring to the boil. Remember to skim off the scum released by the Pork. We don’t want it there.
- Add Salt and crushed peppercorns and let it simmer for about 35-45 minutes or until Pork is tender.
- While waiting for the Pork to cook. In a pan, sauté the red onions, garlic and chili then add the soy sauce and vinegar. A rough rule of thumb for the soy sauce/vinegar ratio is 1:6. Depending on your taste preference, you can choose to add 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar to give the sauce a bit of sweetness. Bring to the boil then let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
- In a separate pan, fry the tofu on all sides until golden brown. I purchased extra firm tofu to make sure that it doesn’t crumble when frying. Remove from the pan, let it cool and then slice into pieces. I recommend using a serrated knife as the Tofu is still delicate inspite of it being extra firm.
- There are two ways of serving this. The traditional way is to mix them all together in a serving dish. But if you’re feeling a bit more fancy like me, you can serve the sauce, tofu and pork separately as pictured. Don’t forget to top with spring onions to finish.
For maximum enjoyment, I strongly advise to pair with ice cold beer!