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 (appetizer) 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’s a running joke that this is supposedly a healthy dish as it is partly made of tofu and has vegetables in the form of the red onions and spring onions. Of course, that is negated by the fact that even though this dish is made of tofu, it’s 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 appetizer 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! The downside is that you have to cook it a little bit longer to make it tender (similar to cooking 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 the reason for the 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 chili, 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 chili. 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 in spite 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 pairing with ice cold beer!
Somewhat healthier Tokwa’t Baboy (Tofu and Beef)
Sangkap | Ingredients
- 1 kilo Pork (Neck), cut into bite size pieces
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 piece Onion red, chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic diced
- 3 cups Vinegar cane
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- 3 pieces Chili chopped
- 3 tbsp Sugar brown
- 4 stalks Spring Onion sliced at a 45 degree angle
- 500 grams Tofu extra firm
- 1 tbsp Oil canola
Pagluluto | Cooking Directions
Put the Pork Neck into a put. Fill with water until covered. Bring to the boil. Remember to skim off the scum released by the Pork. 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. Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. 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. Remove from the pan, let it cool and then slice into pieces with a serrated knife.
To serve: You can serve the sauce, tofu, and pork separately as pictured or mix them all together in a serving dish. Top with spring onions to finish.
Tala | Notes
- Remove chili seeds if you don't want it very spicy.
- The amount of sugar depends on how sweet you want the sauce is.
- 1 part soy sauce: 6 part vinegar ratio