Khok: Recycled tawgi

Ober Khok
·2 min read

How are you doing, Khokies? Times are hard, so we make do a lot these days, pun intended. So here I am with the idea of recycling as part of making do.

Tawgi, togue, mung bean sprouts by any other name—togi? toge?—are crunchy, and a good source of insoluble dietary fiber.

“It’s silhig sa tiyan (literal translation: broom for the tummy). Nutritionists say fiber ‘clean out’ the colon,” Uncle Gustave said.

The idea of recycling ready-cooked tawgi came from my friend, Illustracio. His wife, Nardie, had a cupful of leftover sauteed tawgi that she bought at her favorite carinderia (eatery).

Nobody wanted it, and Tracio didn’t want to “feed it” to the trash bin. “Here’s a project for you. Make something new out of this dish to feed four people—me, Nardie, and our two children.”

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. I got to work with a few ingredients.

TORTANG TAWGI. To make the torta or patties, I first rinsed the sauteed tawgi to remove the grease and salt, and drained it well.

Next, I mixed into the tawgi two tablespoons each of all-purpose flour, and cornstarch, one whole egg, black pepper to taste, and four cloves grated garlic, using the large-size shredding hole. I also minced the carrot and cabbage strips that were in the tawgi, and discarded the cubed pork fat used to flavor the vegetable dish. No, I didn’t add salt. Besides, I was planning to make a dip for it. The batter was a bit watery, but that was all right.

My cousin Amie asked, “Obz, are you sure at what you’re doing?” Like that famous ad on local TV these days, I just smiled.

Since the batter was thin, I just fried the tawgi, using one heaping tablespoon per serving, and spreading the tawgi in the pan before it set. I fried one side for 3 to 5 minutes.

I flipped the torta when it was golden brown to cook the other side to golden brown glory.

All in all I made eight patties. For dip, I mixed oyster sauce with tuba or coconut wine vinegar although you can use any type you want.

I must admit this torta lacked the crunch you get from using raw tawgi. Flavor-wise, it did win everybody’s approval, including Tracio’s family when they tried it the next day.

OKOY OK. This is actually a study in okoy, a traditional Filipino recipe using fresh tawgi mixed with flour, egg, salt, julienned carrot, and green onions. After a patty is placed in the hot oil, a piece of shrimp is placed at the center. Some recipes call for shelled whole or diced shrimp mixed into the batter.

Whatever you decide to do with leftover sauteed tawgi, dear Khokies, I have just shown you that one tiny food serving can feed four when carefully recycled.