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The Humble Lugaw

February 19, 2010

Lugaw. Congee. Arroz Caldo. Risotto. Okayu. Gruel… Call it what you will.  Nothing fancy to see here, just chicken and rice.  It seems every culture of the world has its own version of a rice dish that’s thoughtfully nurtured with a flavorful broth to the point of over-absorption. Long grain rice, like the jasmine used in this Lugaw, contains starches that break down into amylose.  When rice is cooked for an extended period of time, this amylose creates a creamy and sticky texture.  Okay enough of the techie stuff, Heston…

After a long night of demoing at Macy’s for the Minneapolis Food & Wine Experience (Ooh La La), I opted to make a humble pot of Lugaw.  Filipino Lugaw is a slow cooked rice porridge made with chicken, ginger, garlic, soy and fish sauce.  It’s a departure from my mom’s version, which is more about throwing everything in a pot and simmering it until all your ingredients cream out.  Rather, I took cues from things I’ve learned cooking in a process-minded kitchen, like adding a touch of water at the beginning to coax the “soul” out of the chicken and into the broth.  I also added this tasty soul back into the porridge much like you would with risotto, one ladle at a time.  This was probably overkill, since Lugaw is supposed to be rustic in process and presentation.  Nonetheless, it’s comfort food with deeper flavors that still feel like home.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lisha permalink
    February 23, 2010 11:34 am

    The looks really, really tasty.

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