My love affair with laing started with the Star Cinema movie Kailangan Kita. I was so in love with the movie that laing became my favorite food in the world, Bicol became my dream residence, and I considered myself an uragon (slang for feisty). In college, we had this activity for a course called “Suroy-suroy, Lalolalorar, at Vochok” where we showcased the culture of the sixteen regions of the Philippines, and I swear I was a fixture of Region V, eating their dried taro leaves stewed in coconut milk. When I became vegan and first stumbled upon Astig Vegan, her version of laing was the first (and I think the only) recipe I’ve tried.
Now, I’m not really good at copying recipes. I’m just a regular visual learner. That may be the reason for my five years’ worth of unsuccessful laing cookery.
Luckily, I saw a segment on a livelihood program that featured Bicol. In it, they demo-ed how to cook pinangat – another taro dish that is apparently the same as laing except that the leaves used are fresh. And when I made it, voila! It’s like I was transported back to my Kailangan Kita-watching childhood.
I swear: it’s the best thing I’ve ever made. (Pa-humble naman ng konti, siyempre.)
Being a sweet tooth, I love how the chili perfectly complements the natural sweetness of the coconut milk. The taro stalks – which I just recently learned is called tangway – are so succulent. My brother, who I’ve already featured in an earlier post, said it’s napakasarap (so delicious). You’d definitely need LOTS of brown rice. And a longer workout the next day.
Here it is. I hope you’d love it as much as I do.
Slow-cooked Tangway in Spicy Coconut Milk (Serves 4-6)
- 3/4 kg fresh tangway, cut into two-inch pieces
- 1 cup fresh kakang gata (coconut milk, first press) + 1 cup gata, second press
- 1 head Taiwan garlic, peeled
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh ginger, chopped
- 4 red chilies (or depending on your tolerance and preference)
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- In a blender, blitz together the coconut milk (first press), garlic, onion, ginger, two chilies, sea salt and ground black pepper until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a deep pot.
- Toss in the tangway and the remaining chili, and pour in the remaining coconut milk.
- Cook uncovered over medium heat until it simmers, then turn the heat to the lowest setting and cover. DO NOT STIR. Not even once.
- Let cook for 1-1/2 hours.
- Enjoy hot with rice.
Delicious. I’m so excited for everybody to try it.
Tell me if you do and how you like it, okay?
P.S. I think the same should work for dried taro leaves to make laing. I could also use the same mixture for ginataang gulay. I’d try one of these days and I’d tell you when I’m successful.