Laing is gabi (taro) cooked in coconut milk with some dried fish and shrimp. You can’t tell by just looking at it how delicious it is, it’s hard to make it look so, especially with my “talent” in photography and food styling LOL but it is, you have to try it to believe. You can make this dish vegetarian or vegan by not using any meat and it would still be delicious.
This is how I remembered how laing was made in our kitchen when I was young:
The gabi (taro), all parts of it from root to leaves were used in making laing, the leaves where chiffonade (rolled and sliced into strips), the stems were peeled and cut into 2-inch tall pieces and the root was thinly chopped. It’s place in a bilao or tray and left to dry out in the sun until fully dehydrated and only then it was ready for cooking, I think it has to be that way so it can soak up all the coconut milk when cooking it.
It takes about a day or two to dehydrate gabi leaves and stems and root. Sometimes the sap makes you itchy and stains the skinaround the nails when peeling the stem and root.
I love making Filipino food the traditional way but not with this one, and I don’t think it makes a lot of difference when it’s made the easy way. I honestly wouldn’t want to eat laing anymore if I have to do it the old way.
Fortunately, dried gabi leaves are widely available now and so are canned coconut milk, it make it so much easier to cook laing.
The traditional Laing recipe has shrimp, mince pork and dried fish in it, but mine only has pork in it because my husband cannot eat seafood because of his allergy.
It’s a pretty simple recipe, I used fresh coconut milk, I don’t mind extracting my own fresh coconut milk, It moisturizes my hands and I get to use some of the sapal (the leftover dessicated coconut) to exfoliate my hands too :)
This dish is usually paired with fried fish but it’s just as good on its own serve with hot steamed rice.
250 grams pork, diced
1 red onion, minced
ginger root, sliced thinly
3 cups fresh coconut milk or 1-2 cans coconut milk diluted with water to make 3 cups of thin coconut milk
3 cups dried gabi leaves (taro leaves)
4 red chili peppers
3 green chili peppers
2 tablespoon patis ( fish sauce)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar
salt to taste
olive oil for sauteeing
1 cup pure coconut milk
Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick saucepan, saute onion until transparent, add diced pork, season with little salt and pepper then add ginger slices when pork is no longer pink. Cook and stir until browned. Pour in 3 cups of coconut milk, season with fish sauce and granulated garlic.
Bring to a boil then add the dried gabi leaves and the chili peppers. Lower the heat to medium and let it boil until all the coconut milk has evaporated. Add the vinegar, don’t stir for a minute, then add the pure coconut milk, bring to a boil, adjust seasoning at this stage, give it a stir and lower the heat and simmer until almost dried up.
That’s it. Cool before serving
Happy Cooking :)