Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce)

Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce)

Hello Everyone! We’re a third of the way into our 12 days of Festive Filipino Foods, and tonight I will be sharing something a little bit unusual, and when I say unusual, I mean it’s not something that I would think to buy in the stores and cook it myself. It is rather foreign and exotic for some, where adjectives such as gross or yucky is used to describe a dish where tongue is used. I don’t recall ever having lengua before – actually, now that I’ve said that, I have had it before, but only the ones that have been sliced very thinly and  grilled at a Korean BBQ Restaurant in Sydney. If you don’t think about the fact that you are eating tongue, it actually feels like you’re having beef brisket.

Upon doing further research, I have found that many different cuisine and cultures are accustomed to ox tongue. For example, it is a major ingredient in the making of what is called tongue toast in North America, where it is used in an open-faced sandwich served for either breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as an hors d’œuvre. In Mexico, it is widely used in their burritos and tacos. Tongue is also widely prepared, and considered a delicacy in many parts of South America, Asia, and European countries including Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, and Poland to name a few.

Ox (beef) tongue is often prepared by boiling the meat first in various spices, and only after that is the skin removed. It is then cooked further by either braising it in a sauce, grilling, or roasting it in the oven. Tonight, I will be sharing with you a recipe for ox tongue braised in tomato sauce, and served with some mushrooms, olives, and potatoes on the side. Estofado is a Filipino method of cooking based on Spanish influences where it involves the braising or stewing of meat like beef or pork knuckles. Sugar, garlic, soy sauce and a bay leaf are among the other ingredients added into the pot during this process. Lengua Estofado is of a Hispanic origin and has been adapted to suit the palates of Filipinos due to centuries of Spanish colonisation. Despite initial impressions of the dish being gross and yucky, it is quite a popular dish during family gatherings, especially for Noche Buena.

Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce) Ingredients



  • 1kg ox tongue
  • 1 punnet (250g) cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 125g green olives stuffed with feta
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large potato, washed and sliced thinly
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Knob of butter
  • Whole black peppercorns


  1. Add the ox tongue, bay leaves, whole peppercorns, and salt to a large pot filled with water. Boil the ox tongue for about an hour until tender. Once done, remove from the pot and set aside to cool down a bit after which you can then peel the skin off the tongue and then slice the meat into about 1-cm thick slices. Don’t forget to reserve some of the stock for when we braise it later.
  2. Heat oil a large frying pan over medium-high and sauté the minced garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Then add in the tomatoes and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether. Follow with the tomatoes and cook until soft, a further 3-4 minutes.
  3. Next, add the slices of lengua and season it with a bit of ground salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix before adding about a cup and a half of the reserved stock. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the tomato paste and chillies. Stir, and leave to braise for a further 30 minutes.
  4. While the tongue is braising away, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized pan and fry the potato slices until golden and crispy. Transfer to a dish lined with a paper towel to absorb and excess oils. Work in batches if necessary.
  5. Remove the oil from the pan and melt the knob of butter. Add the mushroom slices in and sauté until the mushrooms are soft.
  6. Once the long is done, plate up accordingly and serve immediately. Share with the family and enjoy!

Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce)

Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce)


– Ally xx



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