Laing is also known as taro leaves cooked in coconut milk and chilis. Laing is a spicy vegetable dish that is widely cooked in the Bicol Region in the Philippines. The “Gabi” or “Taro” grows well along Riverbanks and can be harvested by almost anyone who wants to prepare this Laing recipe. The countryside style of cooking the taro leaves is by shredding them finely and cooking them in Palayok or earthen Clay Pots. While there are fresh Taro or Gabi leaves that can be retrieved and bought in the wet markets or Palengke, the dried version of Taro leaves are also readily available. These packets of dried taro leaves make cooking and preparing Laing more accessible to those leaving outside the Philippines.
Laing Recipe and Preparation Tip
If you happen to purchase fresh Gabi leaves, do not use them immediately. The Taro leaves need to be sun-dried for at least a day. The Taro stems are then peeled and the leaves should be shredded using your hands. Using a stainless steel knife when cutting the Taro leaves may cause a chemical reaction that turns the Taro leaves turns into brownish black. It also changes the flavor into somewhat bitter in taste, so better shred your taro leaves by hand. In cooking the Laing, the sauce is prepared and cooked first. This is done so that all the flavors are well blended and incorporated. The shrimp paste and coconut milk give an aromatic and savory laing sauce. The secret to achieving a thick sauce is to avoid stirring the coconut milk. Mixing the gata or coconut milk will only make it watery. If you want a hotter and spicier Laing recipe, chop your red chili peppers finely. If you want it to be less spicy, leave your chili pepper whole. This Laing recipe can be made in advance and kept frozen for a week. Thaw and reheat before serving.Ginataang Laing with Shrimps Cooked in Oven
- 1 pack (100g) Taro leaves or Gabi Leaves
- 6 cups coconut milk(you can use fresh coconut milk as well)
- 2 cups coconut cream
- ½ cup shrimp paste (Bagoong)
- ½ lb. pork shoulder, thinly sliced
- 5 to 7 pieces red chilies
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- ½ cup sliced ginger
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- Mix the Coconut Milk, Pork, Ginger, Shrimp Paste, Onion, and Garlic in a pot.
- Heat the pot and let it boil.
- Once the mixture starts to boil, gently stir to mix the ingredients.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Make sure to stir once in a while to prevent the ingredients from sticking at the bottom of the cooking pot.
- Add the dried taro leaves. Do not stir. Let it stay until the leaves absorb the coconut milk. This takes about 20 to 30 minutes. you can gently push the leaves down so that it can absorb more coconut milk.
- Once the leaves absorb the coconut milk, stir the leaves and then continue to cook for to 10 minutes.
- Pour the coconut cream in the cooking pot.
- Add the red chilies. Stir. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes more.