Cook This: Langka Ragu, A Bowl of Pasta Where You Won’t Miss Meat

February 22, 2017

Whether you’re preparing for the Lenten season, doing meatless Mondays, or a new vegan convert, the perennial question of what else you can have for dinner—besides salad—is answered. The local unripened jackfruit can be counted as one of your potential meat replacements. The dish that comes to mind when talking about savory langka is the coconut milk treatment which originated in the Visayas region: a low simmer in the cream breaks down the jackfruit and flavors it. But there’s more to langka than ginataan, as it lends itself well to other dishes: pulled pork sandwiches, faux crab cakes, and vegan pasta. (Not to mention, you’re reaping all of its health benefits while enjoying dinner—to name a few, it helps with insomnia, improves metabolism, and reduces blood pressure.)

In this recipe, the langka ragu is paired with penne rigate. By cooking down the ragu, the vegetables come together in a thick but manageable sauce. Most of the work in this recipe is essentially cutting your ingredients, but you needn’t have extraordinary knife skills beyond mincing and cutting. After getting all the preparations out of the way, you only have to simmer down the sauce until thick and cooked through.

Without meat, the ragu is a departure from the usual rib-sticking, meaty sauce you’ve come to know. But shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce lends some umami to the dish. If you want to go completely vegan, stow away the milk and replace the parmesan with a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast or nut cheese.

Langka Ragu

Yield: 6 portions
Time: 2 hours

Ingredients: Langka Ragu

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 punnet shiitake mushrooms, cut brunoise
  • 250g unripened langka, cut brunoise
  • 1 pc white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, cut brunoise
  • ½ pc carrot, cut brunoise
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup milk, optional


  • 500g penne rigate
  • 50g parmesan, freshly grated (optional)
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped


  1. Heat up oil in a deep heavy bottomed pot.
  2. When oil starts smoking, add mushrooms and cook until caramelized.
  3. Add langka and coat in oil.
  4. Bring down heat and add onion, carrot, celery and garlic.
  5. Keep cooking until all the vegetables are soft.
  6. Add the tomato paste and cook out bitterness.
  7. Add red wine and reduce by half.
  8. Add the crushed tomato and water.
  9. Season to taste and add soy sauce.
  10. Simmer until the vegetables are very soft, almost breaking apart.
  11. Add the milk last and set aside.
  12. Cook penne rigate to instructions on packet.
  13. Stain and toss with sauce.
  14. Top with chopped parsley and grated parmesan.
Bernice Escobar SEE AUTHOR Bernice Escobar

Bernice loves to get nerdy about food and making people hungry. In her free time, she attempts to play with her anti-social cat and fantasizes about all things sweet.

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