Laing is a dish especially known in the Bicol region but is also well-admired all around the country. This dish is not hard to find as it’s something often seen in local restaurants or carinderia along the streets.
So with this, you’ll be sure to find different kinds of people who cook this in subtle different ways and maybe find laing dishes you like, and laing dishes you do not.
But here in this article, we are set to teaching you how to cook this simple recipe of laing that’s sure to please your taste buds. After all, this dish is not so hard to cook and is surely delicious. The good thing about this recipe is you can easily change things up to your own liking so don’t even fret.
So ready up, as we’re about to learn more about this Special Laing Recipe!
What is Laing?
If we’re to talk about the dozens of Filipino cuisines we like, I’m almost sure that Laing is one dish which we’re surely going to mention most of the time.
This unique dish is made of dried whole or shredded taro or gabi leaves mixed with coconut milk, some meat, chilies, and other seasonings.
This dish forms what is seemingly chaotic when we look at it but is uniformly dancing in our taste buds when we eat it. No doubt that anyone who loves to try out different kinds of food would be curious about this dish.
This delicacy originated from a place mentioned here in the article earlier–of course–Bicol. The region is popular for having extra special and delicious, spicy dishes which would surely peak anyone’s interest.
And laing is one of those dishes which does not disappoint. But compared to common recipes outside Bicol, the authentic laing typically uses whole taro leaves, instead of the usual shredded ones.
How to Cook Special Laing?
You might think that cooking laing is a difficult process based on how it looks, but really, it is just as simple as putting and mixing the ingredients together. All you have to do is combine your initial ingredients, and let it boil until the ingredients have a good consistency and until the meat is nice and tender.
After that, we will just add in the gabi leaves and some chilies. Take note, we recommend in this recipe that you use dried gabi leaves. Leave the pot cooking until the taro leaves absorb the coconut milk. A good indicator that the coconut milk is absorbed is when the taro leaves look darker from before.
When that’s done, the last step is to just pour in the coconut cream and some chilies again to finish and spice things up. You will know that your cooking is done when fat oil is rising from the cooking pot, so keep an eye on that.
That’s it! After just a few simple steps done, you’re ready to serve your special laing to your loved ones! You might want to try out another Bicolano dish called the Bicol Express, we have a recipe as well.
Why Use Dried Gabi Leaves?
We mentioned earlier that it is important to use dried gabi leaves for this recipe.
This is because fresh gabi leaves contain toxins which causes the mouth or throat to itch a lot. While fresh gabi leaves are a viable ingredient in making laing, it needs a longer process of cooking to remove those toxins from the leaves.
Dried leaves, however, are rid of these toxins and are commonly available in your local markets, so this is the easier choice when cooking special laing.
Notes On Ingredients
Chilies are a part of the recipe. But remember that some people do not want too much spiciness on their dish, so feel free to adjust the number of chilies used in this recipe.
Coconut milk and coconut cream can be bought and is readily available in most markets. But if you want fresher ingredients for this dish and aim for a creamier laing, you can make both the coconut milk and coconut cream by yourself since you will be able to have more control on how you want it to be.
This article will help you learn more about coconut milk (gata) and coconut cream (kakang gata) and how to make them: All You Need to Know About Gata & Kakang Gata
For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:
Special Laing Recipe
- Cooking Pot
- 100 g gabi, taro leaves, dried
- ¼ kg pork belly or pork shoulder, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup shrimp, peeled and thinly sliced (or whole if you prefer)
- 6 cups coconut milk, gata
- 2 cups coconut cream, kakang gata
- 1/2 cup shrimp paste, bagoong
- 3 to 4 pieces red, labuyo chilis, sliced
- 2 to 3 pieces green, finger chilis
- 1 piece onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced, ginger
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- In a cooking pot, combine the coconut milk, pork, shrimp, shrimp paste, ginger, onion, and garlic.
- Heat the pot over low to medium heat and let boil.
- Once the mixture starts to boil, gently stir to mix the ingredients. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the ingredients from sticking on the bottom of the cooking pot.
- Add-in the dried taro (gabi) leaves and green chilis. Do not stir. Let it stay for about 20 to 30 minutes until the leaves absorb the coconut milk. 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 10 minutes.
- Pour-in the coconut cream into the cooking pot.
- Add-in the red chilies and stir then cook until it renders fat (until you see a visible oily layer).
- Remove from heat and transfer to a serving plate and enjoy!