Sunday, June 06, 2010

Filipino Cooking Class at Oakland Asian Cultural Center

I've taken two Filipino cooking classes from the Asian Seasonal Cooking Class series at Oakland Asian Cultural Center.

This slide show and recipes are from the first, which was last November. Watch for a more complete write up and photos from the more recent class this past May. In the meantime, if you live in Oakland, the OACC is fighting for its programming which is threatened by severe cuts by one of its major funders, the Oakland (CA) City Council. Please email your city council member and let him or her know you support the work of the OACC in preserving and transmitting local Asian cultures. For more on the OACC, click here. For info on how to contact your city council representative, contact Jennifer Chu, Development Coordinator, at

If you want to learn more about why I, a Jew of Russian-German heritage, regard this Asian American organization as important, please read this post.

Back to the cooking class. We made a classic comfort food dish from the Philippines -- arroz caldo or lugo or lugaw -- a rice soup a little like Chinese jook or congee but with sweet (glutinous) rice. The soup had a rich, full flavor from the chicken stock, with lots of other flavorings and seasonings. Here is a link to the pdf with all the info on that workshop and the recipe. The workshop was led by Herna Cruz-Louie, the Executive Director and Co-Founder for American Center of Philippine Arts. The recipe below is hers and used with her permission and with her directions and notes.

Serves 4-6


- Small whole chicken (orThighs and Wings)
- Fried Tofu
- Celery
- Garlic
- Onions
- Ginger
- Kosher Salt
- Whole Black Peppercorns
- Canola Oil
- Sweet (Glutinous) Rice
- Fish Sauce
- Scallions


- Small Whole Chicken or Thighs and Wings ( about 3 /2 lb..)
- 2 Celery Stalks
- 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorn

Combine all of the ingredients with 10 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender (about 30 minutes).
**Prep all your ingredients for the Lugaw while you wait!**

Transfer chicken pieces with tongs to a plate to cool. Strain the broth through a mesh strainer into another large saucepan and bring back to a slight simmer over low to medium heat. Continue to simmer, adjusting the heat if necessary while we cook the Lugaw.

When the chicken has cooled, remove the skin and use your fingers to remove meat from the bones and shred the chicken.


- 3 tablespoons of canola oil
- 2 heads of garlic (cloves peeled and crushed)
- 1 fresh ginger, 2-inch piece (peeled and julienned)
- 1 medium-sized onion, diced
- 1 cup of sweet (glutinous) rice
- 8-10 cups of homemade chicken broth (to preference)
- fish sauce (to taste)
- 1 cup of fried tofu
- fresh ground pepper (to taste)
- 5 scallions, sliced for garnish

Warm 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add crushed garlic cloves (1 head of garlic) and cook in the oil until golden brown and crisp. Transfer the garlic out of the saucepan and onto a paper towel lined plate or bowl to drain.

Using the oil left in the pan, add the peeled and julienned ginger, diced onions and the remainder of the crushed garlic cloves to the pan and saute until the onion is translucent. Add 1 cup of sweet rice and saute until the rice is evenly coated with oil. Add 1 cup of warm chicken broth and stir until most of the broth is absorbed. Continue adding a cup of chicken broth at a time, stirring frequently, until the rice begins to break down. This will take 30-45 minutes. Add less broth for a thicker consistency.

Stir in the shredded chicken, fried tofu, 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce (to taste) and black pepper (to taste). Ladle the Lugaw into individual serving bowls and top off each bowl with sliced scallions and Fried Garlic.

1 comment:

Dosan Hirohata said...


I was really amazed when you mentioned one Filipino dish that all Filipinos have grown up to. I am a Filipino and i hope that you have tried to cook Chicken or Porek Adobo. its most filipinos love to cook too..

i love your blog.. i will try to pick up some dishes to cook in here..