I have always loved Manila, no matter where I am or how long I stay--I yearn for home, and everything about it, the traffic, the pollution (yes, it does grow on you!), the noise and most especially the food. And one of those that I crave when I'm away, is an appetizer called Tokwa't Baboy (literally Tofu and Pork). There are as many versions of this as there are cooks in the Philippines, some of them make it sweet, others really sour. I have heard of cooks using pig's ears but I prefer to use liempo or pork belly (which is readily available in the supermarket). So here is my recipe for my Tokwa't Baboy:
FIRM TOFU 1 block
PORK BELLY 1/4 kilo
GARLIC 3 cloves
ONION, red 1 piece
FINGER CHILI 2 pieces
BAYLEAF 2 pieces
PEPPERCORN I teaspoon
SOYSAUCE 1/4 cup
VINEGAR 1/4 cup
BROWN SUGAR 1 teaspoon
Boil pork belly in water, crushed garlic, bellpeppers and bayleaves until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and cool, at this point you can choose to refrigerate it overnight or just freeze it for 30 minutes until cold and dry.
Pan-fry cubed tofu in preheated pan with oil until crispy. Drain on papertowels to absorb excess oil.
Preheat a pot with oil (about 1 cup) and deep-fry cold porkbelly until crispy about 3 minutes on each side. Slice and cube.
To make sauce, combine vinegar, soysauce and sugar whisk until sugar is dissolved.
To assemble: Slice finger chili, mince onions. In a bowl, combine tofu, porkbelly, onions and finger chili. Top with sauce and mix well.
*Tokwa't baboy is sometimes served as an accompaniment to arroz caldo.