Tokwat Baboy is a dish composed of boiled pork (either or both pig’s ears and pork belly usually) and fried tofu. The sauce made of vinegar and soy sauce gives life to this dish. Generally, this dish is considered as an appetizer or a side dish. Most people like to have their Tokwat Baboy with beer or wine by the side while others love to have it with rice porridge such as Arroz Caldo, Goto, or a simple lugaw.
I personally like to have the sweetened version of the sauce. In order to achieve the taste, I just add a few tablespoons of sugar in the vinegar-soy sauce mixture. Also, I sometimes literally sip the sauce as if it is some kind of soup (It may sound weird but I know others who does the same too).
Filling and flavorful, the delightful tokwat baboy is a staple in any Filipino kitchen. Its ingredients are a simple yet impactful combination: tender and tasty pork with an equally succulent and chewy tofu. And when you throw it together with a tangy, savory sauce? You’ve for sure got a winner on your hands! Tokwat baboy is a classic that you can find, both in restaurants and on dining tables around the country. This appetizer or main course is one that both you and your family won’t even notice you’ve finished until you’ve cleared out the entire bowl.
Where does tokwa’t baboy come from?
You may not know this, but tokwat baboy hails from the province of Cavite. In the original recipe, there isn’t even any tofu to begin with! The original name for this Filipino favorite was kulao, or kilawin na tainga ng baboy. As in the recipe we’re following today, pork ears served as the primary part of the pig used in this recipe. Tokwa’t baboy was considered a type of kinilaw — hence the name people originally called it by.
But what is kinilaw to begin with? Usually, we associate this term with fish, shrimp, and other seafood. However, kinilaw or kilawin can equally apply to meat — the same way we associate it with tokwa’t baboy’s ancestor. Basically, kilawin is a cooking method that has been around the country since time immemorial. Before we could easily store our ingredients in freezers and refrigerators, we had to find some way of keeping them fresh. Soaking and marinating our chosen meats in vinegar allowed our food not only to retain its freshness, but also get some of that tangy and tart goodness we love from the condiment. And it isn’t just vinegar that we used to use! Calamansi, green mangoes, and even kamias are other souring agents that make kinilaw the popular cooking process it is today.
With a history as rich as its flavor, tokwat baboy has been around for centuries — and for good reason! It comes as no surprise that this dish has lasted this long, and with many different variants and renditions across the country to boot!
Working with tofu for the first time?
The crispy nature of tofu is the perfect partner to the juicy and tender pork slices you’ll use in this recipe. For those who haven’t handled tofu before, don’t fret; it’s incredibly simple and a versatile ingredient. Beyond just tokwa’t baboy, you may end up wanting to use tofu in other recipes at home, too!
Tokwa, tofu — however you want to call it, this ingredient is a shining star of Asian cuisine. Its extremely adaptable qualities make it popular, especially for those who are on plant-based diets. This bean curd works in everything, from appetizers all the way down to desserts, and the occasional snack throughout the day.
For instance, street food lovers and your own childhood memories can’t forget the popular and beloved taho. With a sweet syrup coating soft and silky tofu, paired with chewy sago pearls for that extra texture — what’s not to love about this classic? On a hot day, nothing beats a nice cup of taho you can enjoy along the sidewalk.
Simple Dishes To Make with Tofu
On days when simplicity is a must in our cooking, you can just pop tofu into a stir fry! Enjoying your tofu with fresh, crisp vegetables will be a greatly refreshing start to any day. It’s abundant in protein, high in a number of nutrients — and not to mention, delicious with a cup of rice! If you’re looking for something a little similar to tokwat baboy, you’ll no doubt find that in a tasty plate of sizzling tofu sisig! Like tokwa’t baboy, this dish can be a great appetizer, main course, or even pulutan. You and your barkada will love to sink your teeth into this healthy version of a pork dish!
Crispy but soft, crunchy but silky — you might be wondering: how can tofu be all these things at once? The answer is: variety! Tofu comes in a number of different textures that range from extra soft and extra silken to extra firm. In this tokwat baboy recipe, you’ll definitely need the latter. This is ultra important to get that crunchy tokwa that your mouth will definitely water at the sight of. You’ll need to deep fry it at an extremely high heat — about 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t forget to line a plate with paper towels after, to ensure that it soaks up any excess oil from the tofu.
Naturally, working with tofu comes with a number of perks. Beyond just protein, tofu can help in keeping your blood sugar levels intact. It also helps reduce the risk of certain cancers, as well as heart disease! Indeed, tofu is not only delicious, but nutritious too! Even if the original tokwat baboy didn’t include this hearty protein, these days, we’re sure you wouldn’t want to go without it. Take as good care of your tofu as you do your pork, and you’ll end up with a fantastic dish for all your loved ones!
Tokwat Baboy Recipe
- Pour-in water in a pot and bring to a boil
- Add salt and whole peppercorn
- Put-in the pig’s ears and pork belly then simmer until tender (about 30 mins to 1 hour)
- Pour cooking oil on a separate pan and allow to heat
- When the oil is hot enough, deep-fry the tofu until color turns golden brown and outer texture is somewhat crispy
- Cube the fried tofu and slice the boiled pig’s ears and pork belly into bite-sized pieces then set aside
- Combine the sugar, salt, soy sauce, and vinegar in bowl. Stir.
- Microwave for 1 minute.
- Add the ground black pepper, onions, green onions, and chili pepper. Transfer the sauce in a serving bowl.
- Place the sliced meat and tofu in a serving plate with the bowl of sauce by the side
- Serve hot! Share and Enjoy!