Lugaw, a Filipino version of congee, is a simple and comforting rice porridge that you can enjoy plain or with a variety of add-ons. It's an easy dish to make, ideal for anyone looking for a warm and soothing meal.
What is lugaw?
Lugaw is a simple and plain rice porridge, much like Chinese-style congee. It is thick and creamy made by simmering glutinous rice with ginger and other aromatics.
Ingredients you'll need
Notes and substitutions
- Glutinous rice: Also known as sticky rice or "malagkit," this is the usual choice to achieve the thick consistency of lugaw. You can substitute with regular white rice, just add more water and cook it longer to make it creamy.
- Water: Lugaw is traditionally light and plain, typically simmered in water. To add more flavor, use chicken broth or other types of broths.
How to make this recipe
Step 1: Sauté ginger
In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, sauté the ginger in a bit of oil until lightly browned.
Step 2: Sauté garlic and onions
Add the minced garlic and finely chopped onion, and sauté until softened and slightly caramelized.
Step 3: Add the rice
Add a cup of rice and stir for a minute to lightly toast the rice.
Step 4: Add water and boil
Pour in 6 cups of water or another liquid of your choice. Mix everything together, making sure to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pot. Increase to medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.
Step 5: Simmer
Lower to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally until the rice transforms into a porridge-like consistency. Add more water as needed.
Season with salt, pepper, or a bit of fish sauce to your taste. Turn off the heat once you have achieved your desire texture.
PRO TIP: The ideal thickness of lugaw is often a matter of personal taste. If it's too thick, add more water or broth and cook for a few extra minutes. If it's too runny, simmer uncovered to allow some of the liquid to evaporate until the desired consistency is achieved.
Ladle your hot lugaw into bowls. Top it off with chopped green onions, fried garlic or shallots, chicharon, hard or soft-boiled eggs, and a drizzle of chili oil for a bit of spice.
Pair it with Tokwa't Baboy for an authentic Filipino experience. Century egg and rousong or pork floss are delicious options, too.
Arroz Caldo is a chicken and rice porridge that shares similarities with lugaw. The main difference is the addition of chicken and sometimes safflower or annatto in Arroz Caldo, which gives it a slight yellowish color.
Lugaw and congee are similar but not the same. Lugaw is a Filipino rice porridge typically made with glutinous rice and ginger, often served plain or with minimal garnishes. Congee, of Chinese origin, is a rice porridge prepared with short or medium-grain rice, with a variety of toppings or side dishes, such as century eggs, salted eggs, and pork floss.
Rinsing the rice before cooking is generally recommended to remove excess starch and impurities. However, for creamy dishes like lugaw, rinsing the rice is not mandatory if the rice is already clean.
What to serve with your lugaw
- Tokwa't Baboy: A popular side dish of crispy fried tofu and tender boiled pork, marinated in a tangy soy-vinegar sauce.
- Adobo: A classic Filipino dish made with chicken or pork cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices.
- Lechon Kawali: Pork belly deep-fried or air-fried to achieve a crunchy skin and tender, moist meat.
- Fried Fish: A simple, crispy fried fish with crunchy skin and tender, moist inside.
- Sisig: A sizzling dish of chopped pork, tofu, or fish, mixed with onions and chili peppers, in a tangy and savory sauce.
Other rice recipes you may like
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- Heavy-bottomed pot
- 1 cup uncooked glutinous rice see note
- 6 cups water see note
- 2 tablespoons julienned or minced ginger or more
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- Optional garnishes: scallions, boiled eggs, chicharon, fried garlic or shallots
- Fish sauce to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Neutral oil for sautéing
- In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the ginger in a bit of oil until lightly browned.
- Add the minced garlic and finely chopped onion, and sauté until softened and slightly caramelized.
- Add the rice and stir for a minute to lightly toast it.
- Pour in 6 cups of water or another liquid of your choice. Mix everything together, making sure to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pot.
- Increase to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally until the rice transforms into a porridge-like consistency. Add more water as needed.
- Season with salt, black pepper, or a bit of fish sauce to your taste. Turn off the heat once desired texture is achieved.
- Rice: Glutinous rice or "malagkit" is the traditional choice to achieve the thick consistency of lugaw. You can use regular white rice, just add more water and cook it longer to make it creamy.
- Water: Lugaw is traditionally light and plain, prepared by simmering rice in water. To add more flavor, you can use chicken broth or other types of broths.