Lately, we’ve been getting tons of sunshine in the Bay Area, though I heard the “Spring sneak peek” isn’t going to last long because rain and cooler temps will find their way again. I’m not a big fan of rain but I wouldn’t mind it this time around because nothing beats weather blues like a bowl of warm soup, make that porridge soup or rice soup. Or better yet, a Filipino porridge soup called Lugaw.
I think Lugaw is a Filipino delicacy we got from a Chinese influence. And mixed with a Spanish influence, we have Arroz caldo, chicken porridge, and Goto (goh-toh), tripe porridge. These are the soups I grew up slurping when heavy rain would pour down on our roof in the Philippines pretty much half of the year. Because it rains so much in the Philippines, it’s safe to assume that Filipinos have endeared Lugaw as our comfort food, and there’s no reason why we couldn’t find it comforting-vegan way.
Here’s how to veganize Goto:
- 2 cups of white sticky rice
- 6 cups of water
- 4-6 pcs. dried Snow Fungus (available at most Asian stores)
- 2 tbsp ginger, julienne*
- 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 6 tbsp. cooking oil
- 4 tbsp vegetable broth powder or 3 cups of vegetable broth (if using liquid broth, reduce the cups of water to 3 instead of 6).
- a pinch of Saffron threads
- a pinch of black pepper (or more if you want it spicy)
- Soak the sticky rice in water for at least 4 hours. Rinse and transfer to a pot with water.
- Heat the sticky rice over high heat, mixing occasionally.
- Soak the Snow Fungus in water for about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, saute the garlic, onion, and ginger in oil until fragrant. Turn off the heat. Set aside.
- Keep mixing the pot until the rice is soft and the soup is thick. Lower the heat. Add more water if the soup gets too thick, then mix again, making sure the texture is consistent from top to bottom. The rice should be mushy and the soup should be viscous, not slushy.
- Pour the garlic, ginger, and onion, including the oil they were sauteed in.
- Add the Snow Fungus or “vegan tripe”.
- Season with vegetable broth, pepper, and saffron threads. Mix well.
- Simmer until boiling then turn off the heat.
- Serve hot.
*I know most people are not a fan of finding ginger in their bowl of Lugaw, yet it’s the ginger that makes the soup taste exquisite (not to mention healthy). So, my trick is to cut them in bigger chunks, instead of the traditional julienne, and slightly pound them so the juice would come out, then add them to the pot. This way, there will be fewer pieces in the pot but the essence is still there for the taste.