Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Lugaw (Filipino savory rice porridge) Recipe by Mia P. Manansala

Bowl of lugaw topped with fried garlic, fried shallots, a fried egg, and sriracha

I hadn’t planned on sharing two rice porridge recipes in one month. In fact, I cooked this dish as a way to clean out the fridge since I was going grocery shopping later that day to pick up the ingredients for my originally planned dish! However, what I made was so easy and comforting that I knew I had to share it. It absolutely hit the spot and let me make use of some ingredients that had been languishing in my fridge and pantry. Considering the times we’re living in, easy pantry recipes that allow me to repurpose leftovers are my current favorite way to cook.

While the champorado recipe I shared at the beginning of the month is a total indulgence, lugaw (this dish can also be called arroz caldo or goto, depending on what ingredients you add to the porridge) is cheap and relatively healthy. In fact, it’s often used as sick food since it’s easily digestible and full of healing ingredients like chicken stock and ginger.

This recipe is highly flexible--it all depends on how much leftover rice you have, what meat and veg you have lying around, and how thick you like your porridge. 

Lugaw Recipe

Serves 4


2 cups cold, leftover rice (broken up so it’s not all clumpy)

4 cups chicken broth/stock

1 TBSP ginger paste

¼ cup dried onion

1 lb ground meat

1 tsp garlic powder

Black pepper, to taste

Soy sauce, to taste


To serve (optional, but highly recommended):

Patis (fish sauce)

Soy sauce

Fried garlic

Fried shallots

Lemon or calamansi (if you can get it)

Fried egg

Hot sauce (I used sriracha)

Green onion


  1. Saute the ground turkey, onion, and garlic in a few tablespoons of oil (turkey is very lean, so I needed a decent amount of oil. Adjust according to whatever protein you choose) until the turkey has changed color and is fully cooked, stirring often to break up clumps and cook evenly.

  2. Add the rice and mix it all together.

  3. Add the chicken broth (or in my case, hot water and bouillon paste), black pepper, and a splash of soy sauce, then bring to a boil.

  4. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice reaches your desired consistency, about 7-15 minutes. It shouldn’t take long since the rice is already cooked. If it gets too thick, add more broth. Still too thin, simmer longer.

  5. Take it off the heat and serve with your desired toppings.

The cast of characters

Saute meat with onions, garlic, and oil

The cooked meat

Add in the rice

Mix in the rice with the cooked meat mixture

Add in the broth and bring to a boil

Simmer until you reach the desired consistency.
Lugaw thickens as it cools, so this is usually where I stop.

Toppings: Lemon, patis (fish sauce), fried shallots, fried garlic

As I said above, this was meant to be a clean out the fridge and pantry meal. The ginger paste, dried onion, and garlic powder can all be substituted for fresh ingredients if you prefer. I’d suggest a thumb-sized piece of ginger thinly sliced, one small onion chopped, and several minced garlic cloves (I go very heavy on garlic, so am always wary of including a specific amount). I used ground turkey because I had some that I’d forgotten I defrosted earlier that week and had to use ASAP, but you can use any ground meat or chopped up chicken breasts/thighs. You can even use the leftovers from a roast chicken and add them at the end since they just need to be heated up. This recipe is meant to be a template rather than a hard, fast rule. And as I mentioned in my champorado recipe, many Filipino dishes are served in ways that allow you to customize to your palate, so it's common to see a table filled with sauces and condiments so you can season the food to your preference, which is why I have that long list of suggested toppings.

Experiment and enjoy! Do you have a favorite cleaning out the fridge/pantry recipe? Please share in the comments!

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  1. Thank you for the recipe for Lugaw Recipe. It sounds yummy and the perfect number of portions for us. I'm going to give it a try real soon.

    My favorite get rid of all the dabs recipe, especially in the summer months when the bounty of the garden is in the refrigerator, has to be a big pot of vegetable or beef stew (if there happens to be some leftover roast in there too. If there's more than we can eat at the time, the stew goes in the freezer. Nothing in this world better than the taste of fresh veggies in the dead of winter. :)

    Thank you for the chance! <3 Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Vegetable stew sounds lovely. There are only two people in my house, so whenever I follow most recipes, I end up having to freeze the extra. Very useful for nights we're too tired to cook, but we run out of freezer space so quickly! Thanks for sharing, Kay.

  2. Vegetable stew sounds lovely. There are only two people in my house, so whenever I follow most recipes, I end up having to freeze the extra. Very useful for nights we're too tired to cook, but we run out of freezer space so quickly! Thanks for sharing, Kay.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Leslie! Definitely one of my top comfort foods.

  4. With dishes like this the egg yolk becomes a lovely sauce.
    Sounds good.
    Soup is always a good "use it all up" dish as is a stir fry.

    1. Yes! The runny yolk adds a wonderful richness and creaminess. Soup is great, but I must admit I'm usually too lazy to do all the prep necessary for a stir fry.