Vegan Filipino Adobong Tokwa (Tofu Adobo)

Food Stories is a column in which Best of Vegan community members share recipes from their cultures and personal stories connected to those dishes. Today, Val & Mani Latifi of Plant-Based Passport share their recipe for Vegan Filipino Adobong Tokwa (Tofu Adobo), a veganized Filipino classic. This recipe was featured in the new weekly BIPOC Portraits series by Val and Mani where they profile vegan creators and shed light on the unique challenges BIPOCs face in making the decision to embrace veganism. Click here to see the full article.

Vegan Filipino Adobong Tokwa (Tofu Adobo)

Vegan Filipino Adobong Tokwa (Tofu Adobo) is a dish very close to Val’s heart. Not only is Adobo one of her favorite things to eat, it is the pride and joy of Filipino cooking and the national dish of the Philippines. Chicken Adobo was the first dish her mom taught her how to cook. Making a successful vegan version of Adobo convinced Val that veganism was possible for her.

Vegan Filipino Adobong Tokwa (Tofu Adobo)

Other than using tofu in place of chicken, our version is identical to the recipe Val’s mom taught her: extra-firm tofu is pressed and then pan-fried. Caramelized onion and a whole bulb of minced garlic serve as the foundation of a sauce composed of soy sauce and white vinegar. A bit of sugar balances out the umami of the soy sauce and the tartness of the vinegar. The black peppercorns add heat and the bay leaves add depth of flavor, while the starch from the crispy potatoes thickens the sauce. Served with steamed jasmine rice, Adobong Tokwa is vegan Filipino soul food at its best!

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Vegan Filipino Adobong Tokwa (Tofu Adobo)

Vegan Filipino Adobong Tokwa (Tofu Adobo)


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into -inch (~1 centimeter) thick half-moons
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil + more to drizzle over potatoes
  • Salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (14-oz) block of extra firm tofu, pressed at least 15 minutes
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp soy sauce, divided (low sodium highly recommended)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • sugar, to taste
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Instructions

  1. Roast the potatoes: Preheat oven to 400° F (204°C). Arrange potatoes in one layer over a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast potatoes in the oven for 25 minutes. Then broil for 3-6 minutes, or until potatoes are nicely browned. Turn pan halfway through the broiling process. 
  2. Brown the tofu: Heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Slice pressed tofu into bite-sized cubes. Add tofu to pan and coat with 2 tbsp soy sauce. Pan-fry until nicely browned. Remove tofu from pan and set aside. 
  3. Make the adobo sauce: In a bowl, whisk together ½ cup each of water, soy sauce, and vinegar with the sugar. Set aside. 
  4. Cook the onion & garlic: Heat an additional 1 tbsp oil in the pan.  Add sliced onion and sprinkle with salt to draw out the water and cook until golden brown. Then add minced garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently to avoid burning, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce to the pan, along with the peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. 
  5. Add tofu and potatoes and stir well to incorporate into sauce. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, if desired. Serve with steamed jasmine rice. Enjoy!

Notes

Alternative tofu cooking methods: First, toss tofu cubes in 1 tbsp oil + 2 tbsp soy sauce. You can air-fry the tofu at 400°F (204°C) for 15 minutes, shaking halfway. Or you can bake the tofu over a lined baking sheet, at 400°F (204°C) for 25 minutes, and then broil on high for 3-6 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Find more recipes by Val & Mani at @plantbased.passport.

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Vegan Filipino Adobong Tokwa (Tofu Adobo)

Recipe and photos by Val and Mani Latifi.

Val Latifi is a first generation Filipino-American. She runs Plant-Based Passport—a food and travel blog—with her Persian-American husband Mani. They live in Houston, Texas with their crazy rescue pug Mango. She is an attorney by day. In a former life, she was a music journalist for The Village Voice. She has traveled to thirty-three countries and five continents together with her husband. Travel informs and inspires their cooking. The two of them recreate and veganize dishes they’ve sampled abroad, as well as dishes they grew up eating. Through their food blog, they seek to dispel the notion that you have to give up your cultural heritage in going vegan, while spotlighting underrepresented cuisines. 

If you loved this Vegan Filipino Adobong Tokwa recipe, you might also like…

BIPOC Portraits: Plant-Based Passport

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