For those of us who are craving for Laing but aren’t experts at making it, this super easy Laing recipe is exactly what we need!
But first, what is Laing?
It is a coconut milk-based recipe with dried taro leaves as the main star. Laing may include meat or seafood, and normally it has heaps of bird’s-eye chilies. It is a Filipino dish known to have originated from the Bicol region.
If you’re like me, I have always looked forward to savouring laing prepared by somebody experienced at this dish. But that’s not always possible, right?
So, what to do? Let’s pick up that courage, grab a pack of dried taro leaves (dahon ng gabi), and make this laing happen!
Here Are The Ingredients
- Pork belly or pork shoulder
- Fermented shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) or dried fish
- Dried taro leaves
- Coconut milk
- Fish sauce (patis)
- Coconut cream
- Red chili peppers
- Ground black pepper, to taste
How To Cook – At A Glance
- To describe it briefly, simply put all the ingredients in the pot except the coconut cream and red chilies, which will be added towards the end of cooking. Cook the taro leaves until very soft and the liquid has reduced.
- Spread the pork, followed by the onion, ginger, garlic, shrimp paste, and taro leaves in the pot.
- Add water, coconut milk, and fish sauce.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Push down the taro leaves into the liquid but don’t stir yet.
- Simmer again, stir, then add the coconut cream and red chillies. Cook covered for a few minutes.
- Remove the cover and continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced and the mixture has started to render oil.
- Adjust seasoning according to taste.
Special Ingredients: Patience and Time
Before you start, let me just point out that although this recipe is super easy, it does need a touch of patience and plenty of time. Cooking it might be as easy as placing all the ingredients in the pot, but it should be allowed to simmer away as long as needed.
If it helps to know, I made this dish at least five times using different recipes before I decided to post the result, and, in all instances, time spelled the difference between taro leaves simply cooked in coconut milk vs. a tender and creamy laing.
So, how much time?
I don’t know how other recipes say this can be made in under an hour! That did not happen to me. Mine was cooked the way I liked it and how I remembered it should look after nearly two hours! So, that led me to wonder. Was it about the quality of taro leaves? Was it the length of time the taro leaves sat in the packaging? Or maybe not enough or too much coconut milk? I don’t have the answers.
But here’s what I’ve learned: Dried taro leaves take time to soften, absorb the coconut milk, and soak in all the wonderful flavours before they get transformed into one luscious, savoury, and creamy laing dish. I think experts would agree. 🙂
The recipe is adapted from Chef Tatung Sarthou’s simple version of laing. He is a Filipino chef, cookbook author, and the one behind the Simpol YouTube Channel.
Super Easy Laing
- 250 g pork belly, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp ginger, minced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp fermented shrimp paste (bagoong) or shredded dried fish
- 100 g dried taro leaves* Note 1
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups (2 cans) coconut milk
- 2 tbsp fish sauce (patis)
- 1 ¾ cups (1 can) coconut cream
- 3 red birds' eye chilies or more
- ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, spread the pork, onion, ginger, garlic, shrimp paste or shredded dried fish, and the taro leaves.
- Add 1 cup of water, 4 cups of coconut milk, and 2 tbsps of fish sauce. Turn on the heat.
- Cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Push down the taro leaves to submerge in liquid but don’t stir yet.* Note 2
- Cover again and simmer for 25 minutes or until the leaves are wilted. Stir the mixture and add the coconut cream and red chillies, and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cover and continue to simmer for 25 mins or until the liquid has reduced and the mixture has started to render oil. Stir occasionally.
- Taste if it needs more fish sauce and season with ground black pepper. Serve with steamed rice.