Delicious Pinoy-style lugaw recipe: A step-by-step guide

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  January 30, 2022

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Lugaw is a delicious and popular Filipino rice porridge dish and it’s the ultimate comfort food that’s both filling and super tasty! Lugaw can instantly bring you back to your childhood, where a cup or two are sold in a small eatery or carinderia.

Most people don’t have the time or energy to make lugaw from scratch. This can lead to unhealthy eating habits since most of us rely on fast food or takeout when we’re short on time.

Easy to make Lugaw Recipe

This delicious Pinoy-style lugaw recipe is a step-by-step guide that’ll show you how to make this popular dish at home with ease. With this recipe, you’ll be able to enjoy a healthy and delicious meal without having to spend hours in the kitchen.

This Pinoy-style lugaw recipe is a perfect breakfast, snack, or even dinner. Lugaw is also known as “Rice porridge or Filipino-style congee”. The secret to tasty lugaw is to use bone-in chicken and aromatic jasmine rice.

Easy lugaw recipe (A step-by-step guide)

Lugaw always starts with a good broth. To start off with cooking lugaw, keep in mind that chicken bones make a very savory chicken broth that serves as the base for making this rice porridge dish.

Bone-in chicken parts like thighs are best because it gives a strong flavor to the lugaw. But you can also use chicken breast.

The traditional lugaw recipe doesn’t require such a long cooking time but this version lets the chicken and rice slow simmer so it takes in more of the seasoning and tastes better.

Delicious Lugaw recipe

Easy lugaw recipe (A step-by-step guide)

Joost Nusselder
Lugaw always starts with a good broth. To start off with cooking lugaw, keep in mind that chicken bones make a very savory chicken broth that serves as the base for making this rice porridge dish.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Filipino

Ingredients
  

For rice and chicken dish

  • 1.5 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks (bone-in and skin-on)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 large piece ginger (at least 4-5 inches)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup long-grain jasmine rice (uncooked)
  • 8 cups chicken broth

For the topping

  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce

Instructions
 

  • Chop the yellow onion and 5 garlic cloves.
  • Peel the ginger and slice half of it into small slices. Then grate the remaining piece.
  • Slice the scallions into thin slices and separate the white parts from the green. Place the chopped scallions and the ginger into the fridge so they can cool.
  • Grab your skin-on, bone-in chicken and pat it dry using a paper towel.
  • Season it using salt and black pepper, covering all parts.
  • Grab a large skillet and heat 1 tbsp of canola oil on medium to high heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Next, add the chicken with the skin down and sear it for about 5-7 minutes until it turns golden. Set aside.
  • Now add the onion, garlic, sliced pieces of ginger, and the white part of the scallion. Cook and stir on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes until onions turn translucent.
  • Add 1 cup of jasmine rice and mix well until the grains are coated in the oily mixture.
  • Mix in the chicken and juices from the chicken. Add the 8 cups of broth and let it all come to a boil.
  • Let the chicken and rice simmer for about 90 minutes on low heat. You have to stir it every once in a while to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • If the rice absorbs too much water and the porridge seems too thick, add half a cup of water.
  • Once ready, plate the food in a serving bowl. Shred the chicken from the bone or let people do it themselves.
  • In a separate pan, heat 1/3 cup of canola oil.
  • Chop about 10 garlic cloves and add them to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until the garlic is browned.
  • Once ready, strain the garlic and add the crispy garlic on top of your lugaw.
  • Garnish with fresh, finely chopped chives and drizzle the fish sauce. Mix together and serve!
Keyword Breakfast, Lugaw, Pork
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Delicious Lugaw recipe

Check out this video by Eric Compton TV on YouTube to see how to make lugaw in action:

Cooking tips

Even while some restaurants and home cooks in the Philippines use beef stock, tripe (goto), pork strips, or bouillon cubes to create lugaw, using chicken stock and bone-in chicken drumsticks and thighs will give you the most intense flavor.

Since jasmine rice (or whichever other rice you use) can be bland, even though it’s slightly aromatic, the flavor of the chicken from the bones is richer and more potent, so it improves the flavor of lugaw a lot.

Here are some more tips:

  • If you want a thicker lugaw, cook the rice for longer.
  • For a thinner consistency, add more water.
  • You can also adjust the amount of ginger, garlic, and onion to suit your taste.
  • If you want a more savory lugaw, you can add more chicken or use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
  • If you want a richer lugaw, you can add 1-2 cups of coconut milk.
  • The only way to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the pan is by stirring constantly.

Substitutions & variations

  • You can use leftover cooked rice to make lugaw. Simply add the cooked rice to the broth and cook for 10 minutes.
  • You can also add other vegetables to lugaw, such as winter squash, carrots, or green beans.
  • You can use different types of meat, such as pork, beef, or shrimp. But even if you use chicken, you can also use the innards for a more authentic lugaw experience, such as the liver and gizzard.
  • For a vegetarian lugaw, you can use vegetable broth and add more vegetables of your choice. You can also add different veggie toppings, like chopped spring onions.
  • Many Filipinos like to add eggs to lugaw. You can do this by simply cracking an egg into the lugaw and stirring. You can also make a separate boiled egg, omelet, or fried egg, and place it on top of the lugaw.
  • You can add sauces like fish sauce, soy sauce, or oyster sauce to lugaw for more flavor.
  • If you want a spicy lugaw, you can add chili peppers or chili flakes.

Types of rice to use for lugaw

Aromatic long-grain rices like jasmine or basmati are the top choices if you like very flavorful foods.

But any white grain rice works perfectly when you cook lugaw. The most important thing is to rinse the rice before cooking to get rid of any excess starch.

You can also use sticky rice, aka glutinous rice, but it’ll make the porridge very dense.

What is lugaw?

A Filipino dish or porridge made of sticky rice is called lugaw, often written “lugao”.

Since it’s made with glutinous rice, it’s both a porridge and the Filipino alternative to congee. However, it’s a bit thicker than your typical congee, as the rice isn’t completely broken down, yet it should have a smooth and creamy texture.

It really looks almost identical to congee and even the texture is the same. But there’s a major difference in terms of the ingredients used to make this food: Pinoy-style lugaw contains lots of garlic and ginger.

Lugaw can be considered a complete meal since it’s composed of carbohydrates from the rice, protein from an array of meat like chicken or egg, and some bits of vegetables as a garnish like fried garlic, ginger, and chives.

But did you know there are many ways to make lugaw using different ingredients?

Various meals, both savory and sweet, can be referred to as lugaw. Savory lugaw is called “pospas” in Visayan regions.

In the Philippines, lugaw is frequently referred to as a comfort dish. It’s frequently offered when you’re ill or on rainy and gloomy days.

And even though lugaw is typically associated with breakfast, it’s totally acceptable to eat at any time of the day.

Origin

The origins of lugaw are often debated. Some say it’s derived from the Chinese dish congee while others claim it’s purely Spanish influenced.

Lugaw might have also been influenced by Indian and Malay cuisine since these countries were once colonized by the Spaniards.

It’s believed that Spanish colonial rule had an influence on the development of this dish. It was called “arroz caldo” in Spanish but Filipinos prefer to use the local term “lugaw”.

The rice porridge dish can be found in other Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

The dish is also popular in Latin America, particularly in Peru where it’s called “arroz caldo”. In Mexico, a similar dish is called “arroz con leche”, which translates to “rice with milk”.

But the original purpose of lugaw was to serve as comfort food for people when they’re sick or suffering from a cold or flu.

How to serve and eat

Lugaw is typically served hot with chopped scallions, toasted garlic, and chicken pieces. A hard-boiled egg is often included as well.

The dish is often served with side dishes like tokwa’t baboy (tofu and pork cracklings) or lumpia (spring rolls).

Lugaw can be eaten as is or with soy sauce, calamansi, and traditional fish sauce. This adds a pleasant savory aroma to the porridge.

Similar dishes

Rice porridge is popular in many Asian cuisines. But the lugaw recipe is a Filipino-style congee that’s a bowl of pure meaty goodness.

It’s not quite a soup and not quite a stew. The dish is hearty, filling, and very easy to make.

If you’re looking for something similar, try these recipes:

  • Arroz caldo with saffron: A Filipino-style chicken and rice porridge that’s perfect for rainy days, but saffron is added.
  • Lugaw with beef tripe, pork, or chicken offal.
  • Champorado: A chocolate rice porridge that’s popular for breakfast or snack time.
  • Goto: Another type of Filipino lugaw made with beef tripe, tendon, and intestine.
  • Batchoy: A noodle soup dish that’s popular in the Philippines. It’s made with beef, pork, or chicken offal.
  • Chicken tinola: A chicken soup dish that’s popular in the Philippines. It’s made with ginger, garlic, and chili peppers.
  • Sotanghon soup: A Filipino noodle soup dish made with chicken broth and vegetables.
  • Sinigang: A Filipino soup dish that’s made with tamarind, pork, shrimp, or fish.

Finally, I have to mention Chinese congee because it’s very similar to lugaw. The difference is that lugaw is usually made with chicken while congee can be made with any type of meat.

Congee is also served with different toppings, like peanuts, scallions, spring onions, and fried onions or fried garlic.

FAQs

How long does lugaw last?

To store lugaw, let it cool completely and then transfer it to an airtight container. Lugaw lasts 3-4 days in the fridge and up to 2 months in the freezer.

When reheating, make sure to add a little bit of water so it doesn’t dry out.

Is porridge and lugaw the same?

Porridge is a type of lugaw, but lugaw isn’t necessarily porridge. Porridge is usually made with oats, barley, or rice, while lugaw is made with rice grains.

The thing is that lugaw is an umbrella term for all rice porridge dishes. So while all lugaw is porridge, not all porridge is lugaw. Chicken stock and chicken meat are what make traditional lugaw special.

What can I use instead of rice for lugaw?

You can use any type of grain, like oats, barley, quinoa, or millet. You can also use starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, or plantains.

However, the texture will be slightly different from traditional lugaw.

Is lugaw healthy?

Lugaw is a healthy dish because it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also a good source of protein.

The only downside is that it’s high in carbohydrates, so it’s not suitable for people on a low-carb diet.

How do I make lugaw thicker?

If you want your lugaw to be thicker, you can add more rice or cook it for a longer period of time.

You can also add starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, or plantains.

What can I add to lugaw for flavor?

There are many ways to flavor lugaw.

You can add soy sauce, fish sauce, calamansi juice, or ginger. You can also add different toppings like chopped scallions, toasted golden brown garlic, or crispy fried onions.

What’s the difference between lugaw and arroz caldo?

Lugaw is a type of rice porridge that’s commonly eaten in the Philippines. It’s usually made with chicken or beef broth, and sometimes also includes vegetables, eggs, and/or shrimp.

Arroz caldo, on the other hand, is a Filipino rice dish that’s similar to lugaw but is made with chicken or beef broth and ginger. It also usually includes vegetables, eggs, and/or shrimp.

These 2 dishes are almost identical, and many people use the terms interchangeably. However, there are some subtle differences between them.

Lugaw is typically thinner in consistency than arroz caldo. Arroz caldo is also often more heavily seasoned and may include additional spices such as star anise or cloves and saffron.

What’s the difference between lugaw and goto?

Goto is another type of Filipino rice porridge, similar to lugaw. The main difference is that goto is made with beef tripe and ox tripe and lugaw is usually made with chicken or beef broth.

Make a nice bowl of lugaw

Now that you’ve seen how to make one of my favorite recipes, I hope you’ll try it out for yourself. If you like chicken and rice, then you’ll enjoy the hearty flavors of this special Filipino porridge.

Don’t forget to top it off with some chopped scallions, toasted garlic, and a hard-boiled egg. Serve with tasty fish sauce and be prepared to have a filling, comforting meal.

There’s nothing quite like a large pot of hot lugaw to satisfy a hungry household!

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.