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How to Cook Lugaw: Recipe for the Philippines’ Popular Rice Porridge

Updated on September 30, 2012
Lugaw, a Rice Porridge of the Philippines
Lugaw, a Rice Porridge of the Philippines | Source

Lugaw is a popular rice porridge in the Philippines that is very much a staple in the Filipino cuisine.

It is such a part of Filipino people’s dining experience that you can see a lugawan or food eateries that serve lugaw in many neighborhoods in the country.

Basically, lugaw is a dish made by boiling sticky and ordinary rice together in large amounts of water until they become soft and their texture slightly thick but still runny.

It is flavored with ginger, fried garlic, varied toppings, scallions, salt and pepper, patis or fish sauce, and kalamansi.

It is served warm in big bowls that are good for one eating.

It is a meal on its own but can also be eaten with other side dishes.

The Many Kinds of Lugaw in the Philippines

So popular is lugaw in the Philippines that it has spawned scores of varieties across the country.

Still, all these kinds have something in common. They are all soup dishes made of rice and served warm.

The things that differ among them, however, are the toppings. Thus, in the Philippines, we call a dish “lugaw” then mention the toppings that come with it.

Some of the familiar kinds of lugaw in the Philippines include:

  • Arroz Caldo – with chicken and ginger
  • Lugaw #5 – with cow’s sex organ
  • Lugaw Dila – with pig’s tongue
  • Lugaw Goto – with pork innards or beef tripe
  • Lugaw Hibi – with tiny, dried shrimps
  • Lugaw Isda – with fish flakes
  • Lugaw Itlog – with hardboiled chicken eggs
  • Lugaw Tainga – with pig’s ears
  • Lugaw Tokneneng – with hardboiled quail eggs
  • Lugaw Tokwa – with tofu
  • Lugaw Tokwa’t Baboy – with tofu and pork
  • Lugaw Utak – with pig’s brain

Lugaw, Congee, or Rice Porridge – a Tradition in Asia

Lugaw, however, is not native to the Philippines.

All across Asia, people serve similar dishes called congee, which is a warm soup of rice flavored with different toppings.

It is called konji jaou in Bangladesh, san byohk in Burma, kanji in India, bubur in Indonesia, okayu in Japan, juk in Korea, khào piak in Laos, kola kanda in Sri Lanka, chok in Thailand, chao in Vietnam, and moe or zhou in China.

In Asia, congee is eaten either as a heavy breakfast or a light supper. It is often eaten as a meal on its own.

While anyone can eat it, congee is commonly served to Asian kids and adults who are sick because it is filling, warm to the stomach, and easy to swallow.

Ingredients for Cooking Lugaw

  • beef tripe – 1 cup; boiled then cut into strips
  • chicken – 1 cup; cooked adobo style then flaked
  • chicken eggs – 1 piece; boiled and sliced
  • cooking oil
  • garlic – ½ head; pounded
  • ginger – 1 small piece; cut into strips
  • kalamansi
  • lechon kawali – 1 cup; cut into bite sizes
  • onion – 1 piece; chopped
  • patis or fish sauce – 1 cup
  • pepper
  • pork ears – 1 cup; boiled then cut into strips
  • rice – ½ cup
  • salt
  • salted eggs – 2 pieces; sliced
  • scallions – 1 bundle; chopped
  • sticky rice – 1 cup
  • tofu – 1 cup; fried and cut into small chunks
  • water – about four cups at first then add as necessary

Steps for Cooking Lugaw

Steps for Cooking Rice

  1. Place rice and sticky rice in a big bowl and wash them until they are clean.
  2. Pour water into the bowl.
  3. Bring the rice with water to a boil. This should take about 30 minutes. If you feel that you want your lugaw to be watery, then add more water as you want.
  4. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set the soup of rice aside.

Steps for Cooking Sautéed Ingredients

  1. In a pan set over medium heat, pour in cooking oil and heat it.
  2. Put in onion, garlic, and ginger.
  3. Add in patis or fish sauce.
  4. Sauté everything for a minute.
  5. Set aside these sautéed ingredients.

Steps for Serving

  1. In a bowl, add in a serving of the soup of rice.
  2. Place in the sautéed ingredients.
  3. Top everything with all the remaining ingredients, except kalamansi.
  4. Finally, sprinkle the dish with a pinch of kalamansi.
  5. Serve your lugaw while warm.

When to Serve Lugaw

In the Philippines, we love to eat lugaw at any time of the day, perhaps except lunch.

We eat lugaw as a power breakfast. It has carbohydrates and proteins that can give us a good start each morning.

We also eat it as a mid-day snack.

Sometimes, we also eat it as a light dinner, with only eggs, garlic and scallions included.

Also in the Philippines, lugaw is cooked and served rain or shine. We don’t really mind that it is warm in our tropical country.

All we care for is a bowl of rich, runny, and yummy lugaw.

Copyright © 2012 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

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    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      8 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Yummy! I feel hungry now. Lugaw with chicken is what I love. This is easy to make. Thanks for reminding me of this comfort food, kerlynb.

    • algarveview profile image

      Joana e Bruno 

      8 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

      Hello, Kerlynb, I had never heard about Lugaw, but it seems delicious and it doesn't seem very hard to do, certainly have to try it... I love to try new foods... Voted up and interesting and sharing!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love lugaw especially goto.

    • Collisa profile image

      Columba Smith 

      8 years ago from California

      Sounds great! I love reading about the daily details of other cultures. A close friend of mine is "flip"; she's an amazing cook! I bet she knows how to make this. Very interesting hub! I think I will put it on her Facebook wall.

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 

      8 years ago from Australia

      The congee in the picture looks delicious but it almost made me puke when you mentioned the pig's tongue, pig's ears, pig's brain and cow's organ. I don't think I am game enough to try those toppings in my congee. I just want my congee plain with salt and pepper, thank you! Interesting hub!


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