Goto is one of  the many variants of Filipino congee or as colloquially known, lugaw. This rice porridge is made with glutinous rice and beef tripe simmered in a ginger-based broth. It’s a delicious one-bowl meal commonly peddled in the Philippines as a filling midday snack or as a light lunch.

Cooking with tripe, or any innards for that matter, can be daunting for the uninitiated and the non-enthusiasts. It’s barnyard odor is understandably off-putting to most but prepared right, tripe can prove to be a versatile ingredient. It’s cheap, nutritious and its chewy yet velvety texture makes it a delight in various dishes such as soups, stews and stir fries. With dressed tripe readily available in most supermarkets, preparing this cut of meat has never been easier. There are also a few steps I apply to further improve the quality of my tripe and thus, the quality of my goto.

  • The readiness of the tripe depends on the extent it was cleaned in the butcher shop. Bleached tripe, for example, is usually soaked in chlorine (accounting for the white color) to kill bacteria naturally found in the animal’s digestive tract. Although the cleanest, it requires extensive rinsing to remove the chemical’s aftertaste.
  • Soak the tripe overnight in cold water and vigorously rub with salt to rid of any grit or partially-digested food particles. Tripe is the cow’s stomach lining, for Pete’s sake!
  • Blanch the tripe in salted water to dispel of foul smells and tastes that may otherwise seep into the final broth.
  • Add a couple of beef bones along with the tripe to give the broth more depth and body.
  • Simmer the tripe with aromatics such as garlic, onions, peppercorns and ginger. Not only does ginger tame the tripe’s funky smell but by time the goto is pulled together, the broth is already nicely infused with all the necessary flavors.
  • Although I use regular long grain rice in my arroz caldo, I prefer glutinous rice in goto. This sticky variety results to a porridge that’s more thick and creamy.

Ready? Let’s goTO!

  1. Ask butcher to cut beef round morcon-style (wide beef slices). Arrange each beef slice between two heavy duty plastic wrap and with a meat mallet, pound to about ½-inch thick (or thinner). Repeat with remaining beef slices. Trim sides of meat to shape it as close to a rectangle.
  2. In a bowl, combine beef, lemon juice, soy sauce and pepper to taste. Marinate for about 30 minutes.
  3. In a pan over medium heat, fry bacon until cooked but still limp (not crisp). Remove on pan and drain on paper towels.
  4. Drain beef from marinade, squeezing any excess liquid and reserving marinade. Lay beef on a flat work surface and arrange bacon in a single layer on top of beef. Arrange strips of carrots, hotdogs, pickles and cheese and halves of eggs lengthwise over bacon. Gently gather end of beef upwards and roll neatly into a log, enclosing filling. With kitchen twine, tie beef roulades snugly at both ends and center to fully secure. Lightly dredge with flour.
  5. In a wide, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat, heat oil. Gently add beef roll and lightly brown on all sides. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
  6. Discard oil from skillet except about 1 tablespoon. Add onions and garlic and cook until limp. Add reserved marinade and bring to a boil, scraping sides to deglaze pan. Add tomato sauce and beef broth. Add bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Gently add beef rolls in a single layer. Lower heat, cover and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour of until beef is tender. Remove beef rolls from pan and allow to stand for about 3 to 5 minutes. Slice into 1-inch thick rounds and arrange slices on serving platter. Keep warm.
  7. Add liver spread into sauce and stir until dissolved. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Pour sauce over morcon slices and serve hot.

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