Tokwa't Baboy is a Filipino dish made of tofu and pork with a tangy vinegar dressing. It's delicious as an appetizer, as a topping for congee, or main dish.
Living with someone who has a whole different food preference than mine can be both a bane and a boon.
G doesn't like a lot of Filipino food, so when I make some for me, it means extra work of preparing a separate meal for him. On the bright side, that means MORE for me!
Tokwa't baboy is a Filipino dish made of boiled pork cuts, crispy tofu cubes, and a dipping mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, shallots, and chili peppers. Popular as an appetizer and perfect with ice-cold beer, it also makes a filling side dish served with rice or congee.
Parts of the pork face such as ears and snouts are typically used for tokwa't baboy, but you can omit it and use all pork belly.
Crispy tofu is the other star of the show, and to showcase its best taste, we need to cook it right.
- Make sure to use firm tofu (not silken or soft) which are sturdy enough to fry.
- Drain the tofu well of the packing liquid. Wrap the tofu blick with a thick layer of paper towels, set it over a wire rack, and weigh it down with a saucer or bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes to extract moisture.
- Cut tofu in uniform size to ensure even cooking. I like to fry the tofu in small cubes for more crispy edges, but you can cut the block into 1-inch thick slices and cut into smaller pieces after deep-frying.
- Deep-fry tofu in hot oil, turning as needed, until golden and crisp. Use enough oil, about 2 inches deep, to ensure the cubes are fully submerged.
- Maintain the oil at 350 F to 375 F. Do not overcrowd the pan and fry in batches as needed to keep the temperature from plummeting.
How to serve
- Tokwa't baboy can be enjoyed on its own as an appetizer or main dish. It can also be served alongside lugaw (congee) as topping.
- To prepare ahead of time, I suggest storing the pork and the sauce only and cook a fresh batch of tofu when ready to serve for the best texture. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- To reheat, place in a saucepan and heat to an internal temperature of 165 F. Fry the tofu and combine.
- 1 piece (about ½ pound) pork ear
- 1 pound pork belly
- 1 small onion, peeled and quarted
- 1 head garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 package (16 ounces) block firm tofu
- ½ cup oil
For the Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup pork broth (from boiling pork)
- 1 ½ cups vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 2 Thai chili peppers, chopped
- In a pot over medium heat, combine pork ear, pork belly, and enough water to cover. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that floats on top.
- Remove from heat and drain well, reserving ½ cup of the liquid. Allow to cool to touch and dice meat.
- Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until meat is fork-tender.
- Drain tofu from packing liquid. Wrap tofu block in paper towels and weigh down with a small plate or cup for about 15 to 20 minutes to excess moisture. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
- In a cast-iron skillet over high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add tofu and deep-fry, turning as necessary, until golden brown and crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove tofu from skillet and drain on paper towels.
- In a pan over medium heat, combine pork broth, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring to a boil, without stirring, for about 3 to 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine diced pork, tofu cubes, shallots, and chili peppers. Pour vinegar dressing and gently toss to distribute.
- Transfer into a serving platter and garnish with more chopped shallots and chili peppers.