The Philippines is a country that has completely adapted many different culinary cultures from around the world. Western dishes brought by the Americans to European cooking brought by the Spaniards, even Indian curry has traveled through seas and reached the islands of the Philippines. In the Philippines, curry has taken on different forms and style of cooking, infused with different cultural heritages; curry has become something that is being used in so many types of cooking in the Philippines.
In the Philippines, cooking is part of the tradition and it seems to evolve depending on the different regions of the islands. In the southern most part of the Luzon Island lies the Bicol region. Here, curry is a main ingredient in cooking, especially vegan foods. Laing or Taro leaves combined with coconut milk and curry makes an interesting dish that would set your mood.
- 1.5 oz. Dried taro leaves
- 11.2 oz. Coconut milk, it can be canned or milked naturally
- 1 chopped red onion
- 6 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp julienned ginger
- 2 tbsp black bean garlic sauce
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 4-6 pieces Thai Chili (or depending on how spicy you want it to be)
- Rock salt to taste
- Heat coconut oil in pan and sauté garlic until it turns golden brown. When the garlic starts to give out a “garlicky” aroma, add the onions, ginger and tomatoes then sauté for an additional five minutes.
- Pour in the coconut milk and black bean garlic sauce on the pan where you sautéed earlier. Bring it to a boil.
- Once the coconut milk has been brought to a boil, put in the taro leaves and pepper. Let it sit on low heat and do not stir. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes until the leaves have softened.
- Gently stir the leaves and add rock salt to taste. Let it simmer for another minute and turn off the heat. This is best served not piping hot and is great when paired with white rice.
The term vegan is not that popular in the Philippines; this is because many Filipinos do not categorize the food that they eat. Nevertheless, the great thing is that the Filipino people have always found ways to cook food in an easy fashion. That is the reason why the Philippine cuisine is known around the world as something that screams out South East Asia. Being a hub for culinary culture in the region, is the reason why Filipinos have learned to cook with different styles and incorporating everything that they have learned from centuries of foreign ties.
The Laing Coconut Curry is something that would really be great as a comfort food. The great thing about it is the fact that you do not need expensive ingredients in order to come up with something as good tasting as this curried taro leaf. Truly, a testament to what Philippines have achieved in its culinary heritage.
Linda Rosario is a food blogger from Chef Needs “The Kitchen that Every Restaurant Needs”. Aside from bloggingand cooking, Linda works for 24 hours, seven days a week as a Full time mom of two bright and awesome kids. For more info on Linda and her website, visit chefneeds.com