Bicol’s Best Laing (Dried Taro Leaves in Coconut Milk)
Bicol Region in the Philippines is located in the southernmost part of Luzon where taro plants, coconuts and chili are abundant. What I’ll introduce today is one of our best and an iconic dish, Spicy Creamy Laing.
It can be an ultimate vegan dish, without the shrimp paste. It’s a favorite dish in Bicol, a daily staple in most households being a very much affordable dish. For this version, I will add shrimp paste for an authentic taste. The total cost of all these ingredients is less than $3.00.
The basic ingredients are 2 small packs dried shredded taro leaves, 4-5 cups coconut milk, 1 piece red onion, 1 piece ginger, 4 cloves garlic, 2 pieces green chili, 2 pieces red chili, 1/2 cup shrimp paste. Some may add fried fish flakes or smoked fish flakes (Tinapa) or slices of pork. But here, I’ll be sticking to the basic Laing ingredients.
In a pan, saute garlic, onion, ginger and shrimp paste. Once cooked, add in the coconut milk, keep stirring to avoid any lumps. When it boils, add in the dried shredded taro leaves. Let it simmer until the liquid is reduced, the leaves are well-cooked or tender and the coconut milk becomes oily. Add in some slices of chili or whole chili. Don’t stir constantly to avoid the Laing from giving off itchy feels or scratchy throat when cooked. Make sure also that your coconut milk is more than the dried shredded taro leaves, so that the final dish would be so creamy.
You may not add shrimp paste to make it an ultimate vegan dish. It’s an authentic Bicolano dish, very much affordable and easy to prepare.