Tropical Cooking with Travel Man: 1st Main Dish - Dried Gabi Leaves (Laing) in Coconut Milk

LAING with rice (Photo by Travel Man)
LAING with rice (Photo by Travel Man)

I'm starting a series of cooking hub with this regional entree in my province, Camarines Sur. As part of the Bicol region, Bicolanos are known to cook their dishes with coconut milk. Since I was young, I become acquainted with the dishes that my mother, father, siblings and relatives cook.


To start off with, I present to you one of our typical entrée, dried gabi leaves with coconut milk. My father used to add ripe hot pepper (siling labuyo) and shrimp paste (pounded shrimp usually made from Camarines Norte) or dinilan in our dialect.


At first, I was against those hot dishes. It's somewhat akin with the dishes in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. No doubt about it, because our forefathers came from mainland Asia. Our dialect is similar with the Bahasa language of Indonesia. Aside from it, they've taken their dishes to this new land as early as 13th century.


This main dish can relate with the characteristics of the Bicolanos. Since several varieties of taro plant or gabi abound in the region, they concocted amazing dishes with it's leaves (usually dried). What I like most is the LAING or dried leaves with coconut milk. For all year-round, I will never get enough of this dish. The ingredients are freshly available.

Buying it from the local market can be expensive. If your industrious and have vacant lot wehre you can plant gabi or taro, then, there's no need of buying it from the store. Likewise the coconut. Most households own  one or two trees of coconut in the backyard or in front of the house (like me). My competition with the ripe hot pepper is the friendly birds or chicken; they also eat it whole. You can just feel hot when you eat the seed;that's a tip to evade the hotness of that little red thing. I've been a victim of that damn hot pepper when I was just a three year old toddler. I was told to believed that red means sweet.

Well, to cut it short, let's go to my backyard first to gather the ingredients.

INGREDIENTS:


250 grams gabi leaves, dried and stripped

1 whole fresh mature coconut, grated then juiced

1/4 cloves garlic, pounded

1 small red onion, minced

1 stalk lemon grass

1 pinch black pepper, grounded finely

salt, to taste


additional: for better taste and garnishing

add sardines or

shrimp paste

or smoked fish, bones removed


PROCEDURE:


1. Concoct the grated coconut without water. Use a clean cheesecloth to extract the milk. Set aside.

2. Add water to the second and third concoction, about a liter per 250 grams dried leaves of coconut. Strain it on the medium pan.

3. Add the spices (garlic, onion, lemon grass). Let the concoction boil. Mix it throroughly to avoid curdling.

4. Add the dried gabi leaves. Let it boil for 15 minutes. Then turn the mixture for even cooking. Let the coconut milk evaporate.

5. Add sardines or other alternative taste enhance , like shrimp paste and smoked fish.Add little salt and ground pepper.

6. After 30 minutes, the LAING will be done. Add the pure coconut milk before serving.


Variation:

1. Small crabs are also added.

2. Fried fish is a good taste enhancer.

3. Small fishes, like dilis can also be added


For toppings:


A young coconut flesh or buko can add twist on your dish.


SERVE it with hot, boiled rice.




Let's Cook the Laing

FRIED FISH (bones removed) mixed with onion, garlic, lemon grass, black pepper ) (All Photos by Travel Man)
FRIED FISH (bones removed) mixed with onion, garlic, lemon grass, black pepper ) (All Photos by Travel Man)
Dried GABI leaves
Dried GABI leaves
Coconut Milk Boiling
Coconut Milk Boiling
Almost Done, pouring the fresh pure coco milk
Almost Done, pouring the fresh pure coco milk
There you have it, Laing in Coco Milk
There you have it, Laing in Coco Milk
My Mother sampling my dish...
My Mother sampling my dish...

Nutritional Values

  1. Gabi leaves - green, leafy vegetables; good source of roughage or fibers; good source of Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine -cures skin diseases), potassium and manganese.

  2. Coconut milk - whether thick (pure) or thin (mixed with water), coconut milk is a good accompaniment of Asian cuisine; a good source of potassium, saturated fats, protein and  calcium. It is also a source of Vitamin C, phosphorus, sodium iron, and carbohydrates.

More by this Author


Comments 25 comments

earthbound1974 profile image

earthbound1974 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

First-rate cooking hub. Please continue cooking, travel man! Is that your mother?


leogurl 5 years ago

It is really nice to read an article like this very useful and entertaining topic. Aside from that it is so much beneficial more likely to our health. You know, I never knew before that this kind of vegetable have so much benefits for our health, that this is full of vitamins and minerals. You know, it is one of my favorite local dishes that I really missing here overseas...

Well, can I suggest if you don't mind?

If you want for a tastier and more delicious ginataang gabi , You can also have it with pork lean meat together with alamang or baby shrimps as an optional for dinilan, because some other people don't like it due to its very strong unwanted odor. Thanks Mr. Travel man for having this article, I am sure there are also some reader will going to like it once they have read it.


earthbound1974 profile image

earthbound1974 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

Hi, leogurl! I noticed that, too. I used to buy laing with small shrimps on it we call hibi (as in heavy) or the river shrimps (smaller than shrimps caught at sea). And that lean pork meat or the fatty part will really enhance the taste with alamang (mass residue of fish sauce) will make this humble laing the highlight of the table.

Maybe, travel man is up for something again. Let's wait.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@earthbound1974: Thanks for rating it. Yes, that's my mother; she's a very good cook. Actually I just prepared the ingredients, the manual grating of coconut; we helped splitting dried gabi leaves into small pieces; removed bones and veins out of fried fish meat but I ended up cooking it using firewood (LOL!). The result was not bad; coupled with siling labuyo (similar with japaeno pepper), I had my fill with this Bicol original dish.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@leogurl: How could I ever thank you with your suggestions. Yeah, I forgot. You see, i had this allergy on shrimps since 4th year high school. It almost cost me my life. With those red spots, itchy feeling inside and out and a fever for a week while competing on my regional science project. My doctor cautioned me in eating shrimps and other seafood finds (excluding fish). I had to settle for the fatty part of pork meat (with some flesh on it, too) as taste enhancer (or bangot in Bicol term).


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

thanks for posting....it sounds like a tasty meal


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Sounds excellent. And as a person who does not eat meat - your recipe gave me the choice. Well done. Anything with coconut is tasty and super nutritious.

Love love love meeting your mother!

Looking forward to more healthy recipes. Rated up!


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Excellent cooking tips which i considered great.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 5 years ago from South East Asia

Thank you for that. I'm trying to remember if I have actually eaten this dish. I imagine I must have because both of my Filipina girlfriends have persuaded me to try most dishes. I will have to give it a try on my next visit...or maybe 'Port of Manila' in Hammersmith might just have it on their menu.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Cogerson: Yes, it's a very tasty meal. Thanks for appreciating.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@BkCreative: Thanks. My mom was surprised when I posted it on HubPages. She didn't mind. LOL!!!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@crystolite: Thanks for appreciating. It's time to tap my culinary know-how and share it here on HP.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

If you happened to order gabi dishes, it usually comes from Bicol. You must try our Bicol express dish, it's somewhat akin to hot dishes of Thailand. Best o luck on your search for Filipino dishes there, Sir Pete!


MM Del Rosario profile image

MM Del Rosario 5 years ago from NSW, Australia

My mother is from Daet, Camarines Norte and she likes cooking gabi leaves, when I spent some time in Bikol, I tasted some authentic bicolano recipes, I just don't like it to be very spicy. Well done travel man for compiling all Tropical dishes from the Bicol region.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@MM Del Rosario: Thanks for dropping by. I'm glad you're reconnected with your hometown, Daet, through my collection of tropical dishes.


Free2seethemoon profile image

Free2seethemoon 4 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

Looks delicious!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Free2seethemoon: Thanks for appreciating my dish. I'm sure you'll also like my other posts on this Tropical Cooking series.


V Qisya 4 years ago

Wow,very interesting! Looks yummy too ;)

I loved it, Travel_man!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@V Qisya: Thanks for dropping by in my HubPages Kitchen (aka Tropical Cooking Series).

It's our superb dish in Bicol. Those dried gabi/taro leaves really highlight Tropical Dining here in the Philippines.

You must try it!


knoleskine profile image

knoleskine 4 years ago from Barcelona

There's nothing like cooking local food and letting our paladar discover more flavors!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@knoleskine: Thanks for discovering this tropical dish in the Philippines, especially in my region, Bicol.

You'll surely like other delicacies that are becoming a byword not only in our place but also abroad.


hardcov profile image

hardcov 4 years ago from Vienna, Austria

Very good hub, thx for sharing the info! :)


IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

Really interesting.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 3 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@hardcov: Thanks, to you for appreciating my effort. :)


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 3 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@IslandBites: Thank you. :) This is our signature dish in the region.

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